The National Industrial Court has asked the Federal Government and the organized labour to settle their differences over the of removal of subsidy on petrol on or before February 10, 2012, after which the court would have no choice but to commence full hearing on the suit filed by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had approached the court, through the office of the Attorney General of the federation, seeking to stop the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) from embarking on strike action over the decision to remove subsidy on petrol on January 1.
Though the court had granted an ex-parte order stopping the strike action, organised labour did not comply with the order.
The court arrived at this decision compelling the parties before it to go for settlement based on Section 20 of the National Industrial Court Act NICA 2006:
“In any proceeding in the court, the court may promote reconciliation among the parties thereto and encourage and facilitate the amicable settlement thereof”:
Earlier, counsel to the Federal Government, Adegboyega Awomolo had asked for the suspension of the hearing of the matter to allow the court invoke the provision of Section 20 of NICA adding that the claimant is asking for industrial harmony between the parties.
Meanwhile, the court had also ordered the Sun newspaper to retract a publication of January 7 which it described as a dent on the image of the judiciary. The publication in question quoted a legal practitioner, Fred Agbaje as referring to the ex-parte order the court gave as a “black market ruling”.
But Mr. Agbaje appeared in court to deny the publication as it was, saying the paper quoted him out of context. The editor and correspondent of the paper also appeared before the court and accepted responsibility for the publication and apologized to the court.
As in the last sitting, both NLC and TUC were neither present in court nor represented by any counsel.