Justice Rabi Gwandu of the National Industrial Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has declared that disobedience of the court erodes confidence in the system and failure to check it will breed anarchy.

The judge further stated her unhappiness at the disobedience of its order, which had earlier restrained the Trade Union Congress, TUC, from holding its 12th triennial delegates’ conference pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before it.

Justice Gwandu equally frowned at the lawyers and parties involved.

It is recalled that the judge had at the last sitting stopped the TUC from holding its 12th triennial delegates’ conference or taking any further steps to hold it. However, the Union proceeded with the conference on July 19 and 20, 2022.

The court had decided in an action instituted by the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, and nine other associations against the TUC.

But the TUC had claimed that the decision to hold the conference was hinged on another order of the court granted by Justice O. A Obaseki Osaghae of the NIC, Abuja.

When the matter came up for hearing last Thursday, the claimants’ counsel, Timothy Adewale, informed the court of the disobedience of the order made by the court and that he has filed an application for contempt against the defendants.

The order, according to Adewale, stopping the defendants from holding the conference or doing anything whatsoever on the subject of the case until the determination of the substantive suit, was clear and unambiguous.

Adewale had further argued that he was shocked that despite the court order, the defendants went ahead to hold the conference in violation of the order.

He then prayed the court to hear the contempt application, adding that unless the defendants obeyed the court order, they will be guilty of contempt of court.

But, Ambassador Sola Iji, counsel for TUC, told the court that the 1st defendant’s (Trade Union Congress) decision to proceed with the 12th Triennial National Delegates Conference was based on an order by the NIC, Abuja.

The judge adjourned until August 24 to rule on applications of those that have applied to be joined as parties in the suit, just as she promised to get to the roots of the matter.

In their originating summons, the claimants had prayed the court to declare that by 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 2025.

They also prayed 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.

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