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Sunday, 25 February 2024 07:22

‘Gross contempt, affront of court’ — FG cautions NLC against protest

Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, has cautioned the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) against its planned nationwide protest.

On Friday, the NLC declared a two-day nationwide mass protest for February 27 and 28, over the economic hardship in the country.

In a letter dated February 24 and addressed to Femi Falana, NLC lawyer, the AGF said the federal government has substantially and reasonably complied with the items in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the union.

Fagbemi said proceeding on the planned mass protest would amount to contempt given a restraining order of a national industrial court which has not been set aside.

“Upon the submission of grievances to the court, parties in the suit cannot resort to public protests over the same issues, as such conduct amounts to gross contempt and affront to the institution of our courts of law,” the letter reads.

“Therefore, the proposed nationwide protest action in all ramifications is in clear violation of the pending interim injunctive order granted in SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/158/2023- FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA & ANOR V. NIGERIAN LABOUR CONGRESS & ANOR on 5th June 2023 restraining both NLC and TUC from embarking on any industrial action or strike of any nature.

“It is not in doubt that the planned protest is designed to compel government to accede to the demands of organized labour, therefore, such action qualifies as an industrial action which comes within the ambit of the restraining order.

“I wish to note that government has substantially and reasonably complied with the items in the MOU and it is only appropriate and equitable for organized labour to engage more with government to ensure the full implementation of same, especially in areas that have been inhibited by unforeseen challenges.

“May I, therefore, request that you kindly implore and enjoin your clients to refrain from self-help by shelving the proposed protests which is antithetical to the mediatory engagements leading to the execution of the MOU, tantamount to undermining subsisting restraining court order, and occasioning disruption of public service, order and safety.”

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