The Nigerian government says it has withdrawn the contempt of court proceedings against NLC, TUC and other unions for embarking on a nationwide protest.
This was disclosed in a letter addressed to NLC’s lead counsel Falana and Falana’s Chambers.
The solicitor general of the federation, B.E. Jeddy-Agba, signed the letter dated August 7.
Through the National Industrial Court, the Nigerian justice ministry issued the labour leadership a summons on contempt of court for protesting.
After that, NLC threatened to embark on another nationwide strike, starting August 14, if the federal government failed to withdraw the contempt of court charges.
NLC, TUC and their affiliates protested against President Bola Tinubu’s anti-poor policies, especially the petrol subsidy removal that has brought untold hardship to Nigerians.
“Kindly recall the exchange of correspondence between the ministry and your office on the need for compliance with the extant court orders, restraining industrial action of any kind on the part of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress,” stated the government. “The position of the ministry was informed by the need to safeguard the integrity of the court and prevent avoidable service disruption or damage to public facilities.”
It added that despite “these exchanges/interventions, the labour unions, on August 2, proceeded with the industrial action through public protests.”
The letter also mentioned that the protest led to disruption of work and the eventual pulling down of the gate of the National Assembly complex.
“The foregoing, it said, prompted the ministry to initiate contempt proceedings by filing Form 48 on the same 2nd August 2023 in accordance with Section 72 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act and Order 9 Rule 13 of the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules,” said the justice ministry.
It stressed that it “is trite that issuance of Form 48 is just the starting point in contempt proceedings which will only crystalise upon the issuance of Form 49 and the consequential committal order.”