…By Larry John for TDPel Media.
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Benin City, Edo State, has declared Governor Godwin Obaseki’s directive suspending trade union activities in tertiary institutions as unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void.
The ruling was in response to a suit filed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at Ambrose Alli University, challenging the directive in court.
The ASUU had sought the court to declare the directive unconstitutional and to prevent the state government from interfering in their trade union activities at the University.
The union filed the suit, NICN/BEN/40/2022, through its lawyer, Kingsley Obamogie, with the ASUU chairman, AAU chapter, Dr Cyril Onogbosele, and Assistant Secretary, Dr William Odion, as claimants.
Governor Obaseki, the state Attorney General, and the Edo State government were named as defendants.
In the suit, the ASUU chapter requested the court to declare the directive of Governor Obaseki suspending all unions in the state’s tertiary institutions as ultra vires the powers of the defendants.
The union also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, employees, and/or agents from interfering with or intermeddling in the claimants’ exercise of their fundamental right to engage in trade union activities at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
In response to the suit, Justice A. A. Adewemimo ruled in favour of the ASUU, stating that the state government was wrong to suspend trade union activities.
The ruling thus nullified the directive issued by Governor Obaseki on June 8, 2022, and upheld the rights of the ASUU to engage in trade union activities.
Reacting to the judgment, Dr Cyril Onogbosele, ASUU Chairman at the university, praised the ruling as “a victory for constitutionalism, the rule of law, and due process.”
The judgment is a significant win for trade union activities and the fundamental rights of workers in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
The ruling also emphasizes the need for adherence to constitutional provisions and due process in governance.