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Federal Government Withdraws Contempt Suit Against Labor Leaders Following Protest Resolution

The Federal Government has reversed its decision and withdrawn the contempt lawsuit it had filed against the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress for organizing a nationwide anti-subsidy protest on August 2, 2023.

This change came shortly after the Federal Ministry of Justice had taken legal action against the organized labor leaders, accusing them of defying a court order that prohibited them from leading the nationwide demonstration.

Earlier, the National Industrial Court had prohibited the organized labor from going on strike. However, human rights lawyer and counsel to the organized labor, Femi Falana, argued that the union had the right to proceed with the protest.

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After a meeting with President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday evening, the organized labor agreed to end the one-day protest. The agreement included commitments from the Federal Government to approve labor awards and expedite the implementation of subsidy palliative measures.

Despite this agreement, the Ministry of Justice filed a contempt suit against the organized labor, which led to the announcement of plans for a nationwide strike on August 14 by labor leaders.

On Monday, the Federal Ministry of Justice announced its decision to retract the contempt suit in a letter dated August 7, 2023, addressed to the Nigeria Labour Congress through their counsel, Femi Falana SAN. The letter explained that the contempt proceedings were no longer valid due to the intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Assembly.

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The ministry highlighted that the labor unions’ decision to call off the industrial action and the subsequent interventions by the President and the National Assembly had rendered the contempt proceedings incomplete.

The organized labor now plans to hold an organ meeting to determine the next steps, and the upper chamber of the National Assembly is set to meet with the labor leaders in Abuja to address the situation. The labor leaders emphasized their commitment to upholding agreements reached with the government.

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