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Industrial Court to NLC: Pursue reconciliation or be run by trustee

We should be fighting debtor states, selfish lawmakers— AREMU

By Oboh Agbonkhese

LAGOS—The President of National Industrial Court, NIC, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, has counselled stakeholders in the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, leadership crisis to seek out-of-court reconciliation, instead of litigation, or face the possibility of the congress’ affairs being run by a trustee.

Justice Adejumo gave the counsel when the Mr. Ayuba Wabba-led faction of NLC’s case against Mr. Joe Ajaero-led faction came up for hearing. He warned that Section 20 of the NIC Act gives the court powers of conciliation, which may warrant it to appoint a trustee for NLC.

Meanwhile, speaking at a briefing on the industrial court’s counsel, Mr. Issa Aremu, General Secretary of National Union of Textile Garment & Tairloring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, and Vice President of the Ajaero-led faction of NLC, said workers needed a united body to confront debtor states and lawmakers that he said had forgotten their campaign promises and had focused on sharing offices.

Earlier at the briefing, President of NUTGTWN, Mr. Oladele Hunsu, commended the intervention of labour veterans in the crisis and NIC President’s advice.

He said: “We call on labour leaders to take advantage of the NIC admonition to resolve all outstanding issues and forge a common front to defend Nigerian workers against worsening economic crisis.”

Both factions had been at loggerheads since the controversial 11th delegates’ conference of March 12 in Abuja, which produced Wabba as President, and the special delegates’ conference of March 19 in Lagos, where Ajaero emerged President.

Wabba’s faction is asking the court to, among others, declare that the conference where Ajaero and others were elected as officers of the congress was unconstitutio-nal and therefore illegal, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.

However, in a 45-minute ruling, Justice Adejumo tasked the team of counsel representing both parties to work with stakeholders towards reconciliation, adding “with the likes of Issa Aremu and others, who are respected labour leaders, reconciliation should not be ignored.”

The case has been adjourned


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