NIC canvasses out-of-court settlement of NLC dispute

NLC President, Wabba

NLC President, Wabba

OBVIOUSLY speaking from experience, President of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Babatunde Adejumo, has urged labour unions to sustain mutual reconciliation instead of litigations that would further divide them.

To that end, when the case came up for mention in Lagos on Wednesday, Adejumo advocated an amicable out-of-court settlement of the leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The Congress has been embroiled in leadership crisis since its controversial delegates conference of March 12, 2015 in Abuja and a counter special delegates conference of March 19 in Lagos.

However, following reconciliation moves by labour veterans led by the founding President of NLC, Hassan Sunmonu, the Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the congress went to NIC asking it to, among others, declare the special delegates conference, where Comrade Joe Ajaero and others were elected officers, as a non-NLC Delegates Congress as contemplated by its 2011 Constitution.

The Ayuba faction is represented by a legal team led by G. A. Adetola-Kaseem (SAN), Aisha Aremu-Ogunlade, Ahmed Adetola Kaseem, and Gani Adetola Kaseem (SAN), among others, while the legal team of the Ajaero group is Enobong Etteh and Nnamonso Ekanem chambers. 

According to Adejumo, ordinary members of unions and the nation at large have high expectations of the labour movement, given its historic role in the nation’s history. He emphasised the importance of labour in the development of the nation, as workers are the “engine room of the economy.”

He added that whatever the differences, a united NLC is better than a divided one. Therefore, he urged counsel to both parties to explore opportunities for reconciliation on a win-win basis, noting that he made the call without prejudice to the case before the court.

Nevertheless, he assured that the NIC equally has powers of conciliation in such matters as the NLC internal dispute, which he said are contained in section 20 of its Act. According to him, it is an implied duty of the court, which may warrant it to appoint a trustee for the NLC. 

The case was adjourned till October 8.

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