Falana’s absence stalls suit against Kaduna govt

The absence of Femi Falana SAN on Tuesday at the National Industrial Court prevented the alleged anti-labor suit filed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), against the governor of Kaduna and 11 others, from proceeding.

Joined in the suit as co-defendants are the Attorney General of the State, Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

Others are Justice Ishaq Bello, AVM Rabiu Dabo, Mr Eyo Ekpo, Mrs Joan Jatau-Kadiya.

Other defendants are Dr Nasirudeen Usman, Malam Mohammed Aliyu, Daniel Enwelum, SAN and Barr. Musa Kakako

When the matter slated for hearing came up, Mr Kanu Agabi, SAN, after announcing his appearance informed the court that he got a call from Falana, the claimant’s counsel earlier.

He said that Falana directed him to tender his apologies to the court, request for an adjournment for next week as he was unavoidably held back in Ghana, The Trumpet gathered.

Bright Odia, the counsel representing one of the claimants announced his appearance.

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The judge, Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae in response stated that the court will not sit next week as the judges will be attending a conference at the National Judicial Institute ( NJI).

The court therefore adjourned the matter until April 4, for hearing of the originating summons.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the claimants, NLC, Ayuba Wanna, Joe Ajaero and Ayuba Suleiman are alleging labour dispute of anti-worker policies which led to the actions and events that birthed the warning strike of May 16- 19, 2021 as the cause of action in the suit.

NAN also reports that the governor of Kaduna had on Jan.4,2021 issued a directive to restructure and reform the Civil Service of Kaduna, with the aim of reducing its workforce.

The action had led to the warning strike and a Judicial Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the factors that led to it and proffer ways to settle the trade dispute.

In the affidavit supporting the originating summons, the claimants are seeking for a declaration that the setting up of the commission to conduct inquiry of persons and organisations in relation to the strike is illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and ultra vires the power of the first defendant.

In addition, the claimants are praying for a declaration that the setting up of the commission by the first defendant to investigate a trade dispute between them violates the twin principle.

The motion on notice is also seeking for an order disbanding and setting aside the commission.

The claimant’s are in addition praying for an order compelling the defendants to comply fully with part 1 of the Trade Disputes Act in dealing with disputes between the defendants, claimants and staff of Kaduna State Civil Service.

An order of payment of the sum of N300 million as general, aggravated and exemplary damages and N15 million as cost of the suit

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