By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG & IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI, Abuja
The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, yesterday, restrained the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, from embarking on any strike action or conducting mass rallies and street protests across the federation, pending the determination of a motion on notice that was filed before it by the Federal Government. But the NLC asked Nigerians to ignore any black market injuctions.
The union yesterday also alleged that thugs suspected to be contracted by the Federal Government invaded its Abuja Headquartres amidst deployment of the Presidential guards and other security operatives on the streets of Abuja, including access roads to Labour House ahead of Monday strike over hike in the pump price of petrol.
In a statement, NLC claimed the thugs numbering about seventy, who later apologized for their action, said that they were not told they were being brought to the NLC and they were promised N1000 each.
However, in a swift reaction to the court order yesterday night, the NLC said it would not obey any ‘’black market’’ injunction and urged Nigerians to continue with Monday’s planned strike to force government to reverse its order on the new petrol price.
The Industrial Court did not restrain the Federal Government from implementing the controversial increase in the pump price of petrol from N65 to N141, contrary to the agreement between the government and labour that triggered the crises. The court gave the injunction after listening to a passionate appeal by the Federal Government through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.
Having failed to persuade the labour unions to shelve their plan to commence the strike to protest the increase in price of petrol Monday, the AGF approached the Industrial Court with a motion ex-parte, asking it to invoke its jurisdiction and abort the impending strike “in the interest of peace, national security and stability of the country.”
Ignore any black market injunction— NLC
But the NLC in a statement by its acting General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa, said NLC was not aware of any court injunction as it was not served any paper of court appearance and was not present in court nor was represented in any capacity.The NLC statement read, “There are rumours circulating that the desperate Jonathan administration has purchased a black market injunction possibly from the National Industrial Court, NIC.