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FG backs out, discontinues contempt suit filed against NLC, TUC

The federal government says it will no longer pursue the contempt suit filed against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).


On July 26, NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government to reverse all “anti-poor” and “insensitive” policies.


The policies, the union said, include the recent hike in the price of petrol, and the sudden increase in public school fees, among others.


The labour movements warned that they would go on strike and mass protests if the government failed to hearken to their demands.


However, the federal government said the unions were restrained by an order of the national industrial court from embarking on any industrial action regarding the removal of the petrol subsidy.


The government also said the order prohibited the NLC and affiliates from holding protests across the country.


Despite the government’s stance, organised labour led its members to nationwide protests on Wednesday.


Consequently, the federal government initiated contempt proceeding against the unions for allegedly defying the order restraining them from embarking on industrial action.


The “notice of consequences of disobedience to order of the court” also called “form 48” was filed before the national industrial court in Abuja.


The protest was later suspended on Thursday after leaders of the unions met with President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa, Abuja.


In a letter addressed to Femi Falana, NLC counsel, on Monday, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, solicitor-general of the federation, said the protests “led to disruption of work and the eventual pulling down of the gate of the national assembly.”


“The foregoing 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.


“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.


“Upon the intervention of his excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the decision of the labour unions to call off their industrial action after meetings with the president and leadership of the national assembly, this ministry did not proceed further with the contempt proceedings, which would have required the issuance of Form 49 within two days of the issuance of Form 48.


“It is self-evident that the non-issuance of Form 49 as of 4th August 2023, renders the contempt proceedings inchoate.”


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