Organised Labour President Ayuba Wabba yesterday urged courts to stop issuing orders that restrain citizens from exercising their right to protest.
Waba expressed displeasure that, while citizens of developed countries enjoy freedom to protest, Nigerian courts issue injunctions to restrain citizens from expressing their aversion to unsavoury state policies.
He spoke in Abuja at a public lecture titled: “Dignity of labour and labour justice” organised by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) as part of activities celebrating its 2020/2021 legal year.
Wabba, who spoke in relation to recent injunctions isued by NICN judges, stopping strike actions planned by labour unions, argued that workers, like other citizens, enjoy the fundamental right to protest.
He observed that the twin concepts of dignity of labour and labour justice have consistently declined in value in the country owing to the avaricious tendencies of the nation’s leaders and members of the political class.
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Matthew Kukah argued that it was impossible to ensure labour dignity and justice in a society that abhors justice and equality for all.
Lacing his position with scriptures from the Bible, Kukah urged the nation’s leaders to purge themselves of discriminatory tendencies and work to ensure societal justice and development.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, represented by Justice Uwani Abba Aji (of the Supreme Court), assured that the Judiciary would continued to uphold the right and dignity of the nation’s workforce.
NICN President Justice Benedict Kanyip assured that his court, being a specialised one, would continue to work to protect labour dignity and justice.
“As a specialised court, so long as justice is not sacrificed, the dictates of labour justice requires that we be guided by principles of flexibility and speed when adjudicating.
“We have never ceased to stress that an employer cannot treat an employee shabbily and expect a pat on the back,” Kanyip said.