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Nigeria: FG Sues NLC, TUC For Defying Court Order, Protesting

The solicitor-general of Nigeria said the protests endangered public peace and instilled fear.

Nigeria’s Federal Government has filed a contempt hearing against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for reportedly disobeying a court order prohibiting the unions from taking industrial action.

On Wednesday, a document known as “form 48” or the “notice of consequences of disobedience to order of the court” was submitted to the national industrial court in Abuja.

The NLC gave the federal government a seven-day deadline on Wednesday to change any “anti-poor” or “insensitive” policies., citing the recent spike in petrol prices and the unexpected rise in public school tuition.

However, the union, according to the federal government, is prohibited from engaging in any industrial action or strike over the elimination of the gasoline subsidy by a national industrial court ruling.

Beatrice Jedy-Agba, solicitor-general of the federation, said the planned strike and the protests could not be characterized as peaceful because they were intended to “ground the government by endangering public peace, instilling fear in the masses,” despite Femi Falana, a human rights attorney, defending the union and arguing that the strike action did not translate into contempt of court and that peaceful protests were within its fundamental rights.

According to her, the parties to the lawsuit are required to maintain the status quo until the hearing and conclusion of the claim because the topic that is the primary cause of the action is still a matter of contention.

Ruling on an ex-parte motion filed by the federal government, Olufunke Anuwe, the presiding judge, ordered an injunction preventing the NLC and TUC from starting any planned industrial action or strike until the hearing and decision of the motion on notice made by the federal government.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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