National Industrial Court
National Industrial Court (NIC), Lagos, has restrained Trade Union Congress (TUC) from holding its 12th triennial delegates’ conference or taking any further steps to hold it, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before the court.
Trial judge, R.H. Gwandu, made the order in a suit filed by the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and nine other associations against the TUC.
Gwandu also granted an order of interlocutory injunction, restraining the defendant, its servants, officials or agents from conducting election into the position of president and other national offices of the Congress, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
The order followed an ex parte application filed and argued on behalf of the claimants’ counsel, Timothy Adewale, and other lawyers, including Johnson Esezoobo, who represents a party seeking to be joined in the suit.
“I hereby grant the interlocutory order as prayed on the claimants’ motion paper dated and filed on June 16, 2022. The matter is adjourned for hearing on July 18, 2022,” Gwandu held on Wednesday.
The claimants, in their originating summons, had prayed the court to declare that by virtue of the agreements and resolutions reached and ratified at the 11th triennial delegates’ conference of the defendant held on June 28, 2019, at NAF Centre, Abuja, the 1st claimant (ASSBIFI) should produce the next president of the TUC for the year 2022 to 2015.
The claimants also asked for an order, mandating and compelling the defendant to immediately enable the 1st claimant to produce and assume the office of the president of the defendant, in line with the agreement and resolutions reached and ratified at the 11th triennial delegates’ conference in Abuja.
The application is supported by a 27-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the general secretary of the Pulp Paper and Paper Products Printing and Publishing Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PPAPPPAPSSAN), Benedict Ikegbulam.
He swore that sometimes in 2019, due to the leadership imbroglio and the intricate nature of the situation around the presidency of the TUC, members of the defendant, during its triennial delegates’ conference, constituted an electoral committee chaired by Comrade Augustine Etafo of Construction and Engineering Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and also a deputy president of the Congress to work out modalities for elections into TUC, as a way of resolving the imbroglio and saving the defendant from collapse.
He averred: “That the electoral committee, after the national officers’ position were harmonised with the approval of the National Executive Council of the defendant recommended to the defendant the following order of presidency of the defendant to prevent rancour or internal crisis:
“That Food, Beverages and Tobacco Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (FOBTOB) take the position of TUC president in 2019 to 2022. That ASSBIFI take the position of TUC president in 2022 to 2025, and after the tenure of ASSBIFI, the position of the president shall be open to all members to contest, and that these recommendations were approved and ratified.
“The claimants were, however, surprised that the defendant, in preparations for the 12th triennial delegates’ conference, published a special notice, dated February 8, 2022, for positions to be contested (2022 to 2025) at the conference to include the office of the president of the TUC without any regard to the aforementioned motions adopted, ratified and already being implemented.”
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