The organised labour movement has said that it did not receive any court order from the federal government or any of its parties to stop the strike that started on Tuesday.
The President of TUC, Festus Osifo, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday, criticised the government for “constantly violating” court orders while expecting other institutions to obey the judiciary.
Osifo remembered that the Federal Government and the DSS disobeyed court orders directing the release of former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, from the custody of the secret police when he was detained for about five months before he was finally freed.
He said on the breakfast show, “Yes, we don’t have a service on the court order, but we have a government today that constantly does not obey court orders. When DSS was holding Emefiele, how many court orders were passed for Emefiele to be released? Countless number of them.”
The labour leader further said that once the unions receive a court order on the ongoing strike, they will consult with their lawyers and take a decision.
“We have a state that refuses to obey court orders. You now expect others to obey court orders, but once we see it, we are responsible institutions; we will not say because the Federal Government continuously violates court institutions; we will examine it, and if it is the right thing for us to do, yes, we will.”
Osifo scolded the government for always rushing to court to get restraining orders to stop labour’s action instead of engaging the unions and addressing their grievances. According to him, getting court orders is not good labour relations on the part of the government.
The Presidency and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation had slammed Labour for going on with the indefinite action despite a “restraining order issued last week by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court”, saying Labour must respect court orders.
Labour went on a nationwide strike on Tuesday to seek justice over an assault on NLC President Joe Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on November 1, 2023, when he was about to lead a protest against alleged anti-labour practices by the Governor Hope Uzodimma-led administration.
Workers in several states joined the strike, shutting down activities at several government-owned facilities.
Public schools, state high courts, and state houses of assembly were closed, while some banks in capital cities closed their doors to customers, who were left to do their transactions at the ATM terminals.