The June 8, 2022 directive of the Edo state government suspending trade unions’ activities in tertiary institutions in the state has been declared as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Benin City, Edo State capital.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ambrose Alli University chapter, had approached the NICN through its lawyer, Kingsley Obamogie, in a suit No: NICN/BEN/40/2022, to challenge the directive of Governor Godwin Obaseki suspending all unions in the state’s tertiary institutions.
The suit had the ASUU chairman, AAU chapter, Dr Cyril Onogbosele, and Assistant Secretary, Dr William Odion, as claimants; while Obaseki, the state Attorney General, and the Edo State government, were the defendants.
The ASUU, AAU chapter, also wanted the court to declare that “the order or directive of the defendants for the suspension of trade union activities at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and same is ultra vires the powers of the defendants.
“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.”
Delivering judgment, Justice A. A. Adewemimo ruled that the state government was wrong to have suspended trade union activities in the AAU and other tertiary institutions in the state.
Onogbosele, while reacting to the ruling on Sunday, hailed the judgment, saying, “The court judgment is a victory for constitutionalism, the rule of law, and due process.”