Ahead of the planned strike action and protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, from Monday over the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel price, the Nigeria Police Force has warned that it will enforce the law on the matter.
Despite two court injunctions restraining the unions and their affiliates from proceeding with the strike, the labour unions had on Friday insisted that they would go ahead with the strike and protest from Monday as they had yet to be served the court orders.
The labour unions had said they would only shelve the planned strike if the Federal Government reversed the recent hikes.
The National Industrial Court in Abuja had on Thursday granted an order of interim injunction restraining the unions from disrupting, restraining, picketing or preventing the workers or ordinary Nigerians from accessing their offices to carry out their legitimate duties on September 28, 2020, or any other date.
Justice Ibrahim Galadima, who also issued an interim order restraining the labour unions from embarking on the strike action, gave the ruling following an ex parte application filed by a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, through their counsel, Sunusi Musa.
The court also granted an order compelling the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services, to provide protection for workers engaged in their legitimate duties from any form of harassment, intimidation and bullying by the officers, agents or privies of the unions pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after the ruling, the judge on Friday issued another order restraining the unions from going ahead with the strike, following an ex parte application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The Federal Government of Nigeria and the AGF are the plaintiffs in the second suit marked NICN/ABJ/257/2020. The ex parte application was signed by the AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
In their reaction on Saturday, however, the police said they would be guided by the position of the law on the matter.
Force spokesperson, DCP Frank Mba, in his response to questions from one of our correspondents on Saturday, simply said, “What does the law say in this circumstance? We would enforce the law. That is the only thing I can say.”
The meeting between the labour unions and the Federal Government had been adjourned till Monday following the failure of the two parties to reach a compromise on the matter.
The DAILY BELLS recalls that the police had on several occasions disrupted protests and in some instances arrested some of the protesters.
Among several examples, armed policemen from the Lagos State Police Command on September 9 arrested several protesters and journalists during a protest against the hike in electricity tariff and fuel price. They also dispersed protesters at Ojuelegba area of the state.
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