In Benin City, the capital of Edo State, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria has ruled that the June 8, 2022, instruction from the state government to halt trade union operations in tertiary institutions in the state is unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chapter of Ambrose Alli University filed a suit No: NICN/BEN/40/2022 through their legal representative Kingsley Obamogie, to challenge Governor Godwin Obaseki’s directive of suspending all unions in the state’s tertiary institutions.
The claimants in the case were Dr. Cyril Onogbosele, chairman of the ASUU AAU chapter, and Dr. William Odion, assistant secretary. On the other hand, the defendants were Obaseki, the state Attorney General, and the Edo State government.
Furthermore, the ASUU chapter at AAU has urged the court to declare the defendants’ order or directive to suspend trade union activities at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, as unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void. The ASUU argues that the defendants do not have the power to issue such an order, and therefore, it is beyond their jurisdiction.
“A declaration that the defendants have no power whatsoever to interfere or intermeddle with the claimants’ exercise of their rights, as members of a registered trade union, Academic Staff Union of Universities, to engage in trade union activities at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
“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.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents, and/or privies from taking any form of disciplinary action against the claimants on account of their trade union activities at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.”
In her ruling, Justice A. A. Adewemimo declared that the suspension of trade union activities in the AAU and other tertiary institutions in the state by the state government was unlawful.
On Sunday, in response to the ruling, Onogbosele praised the judgment, stating that “The court’s decision is a triumph for constitutionalism, the rule of law, and due process.”