The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja could not commence hearing in the suit filed by the Federal Government against organized labour seeking to stop the ongoing strike, as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) were neither in court nor represented by any counsel.
The court had fixed today for the hearing of the motion on notice last after granting an ex-parte order stopping the respondents from embarking on mass protest, rallies and strike action.
When the matter came up, counsel to the federal government, Adegboyega Awomolo, told the court that in obedience to the order of the court earlier made, the claimant had served the respondents through some national dailies and that an affidavit had been deposed and filed to that effect.
The court however observed that the claimant had not fully complied with the court’s order by placing the service in two national newspapers instead of three as ordered by the court.
Also, the President of the court commented on a publication in The Sun newspaper of Saturday, January 7, 2012 in which the court was referred to as a ‘black market’ and that the order of injunction granted by the court in favour of the federal government was a black market ruling, adding that such story was a dent on the integrity of the court.
He therefore summoned the editor and reporter of the newspaper, to appear before it to prove how the order was procured and how the court is a ‘black market’.
The panel of three justices headed by the president of the court, Justice B.A Adejumo, held that the motion on notice could not be heard without the claimant complying fully with the order of the court as to substituted service.
Counsel to the claimant later sought the leave of the court to replace the process of substituted service in The Guardian Newspaper but also pleaded that should there be difficulty with Guardian, the court should allow it place it in either Leadership or Daily Trust newspapers.
The court however granted the order made by the claimant to re-publish the processes including the summons to appear before it while it adjourned till Monday January 16, 2012, for hearing of the originating summons.
The court had last Friday granted an order restraining the defendants from embarking or inciting the general public to embark on general strike, street protests, mass rallies or any other action that would be inimical to the economic affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the determination of the motion on notice.
However, organized labour defied the order and has commenced the strike action to protest the cut in fuel subsidy.