Rivers halts labour strike with court injunction, but labour leaders insist


By Codratus Godson

The Rivers State Government has secured an injunction from the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Port Harcourt to halt the strike action planned by the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). The labour leaders have however said they were marching on with the action. Government sources said the success was partial but the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state

The action is planned for 12 midnight Monday, March 24, 2020, Justice Z.M. Bashir of the NIC, granted an order of interim injunction, calling off the proposed strike.

The injunction ordered the leadership of the organised labour in the State under Beatrice Itubo, chairman of the NLC, Austin Jonah, chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mathew Olaba (Secretary, NLC), Prince Ndukwe, and Opuwari A. Agbada (Joint Rivers Negotiating Council), or their proxy from embarking on the strike.

Parts of the injunction reads: “The National Industrial Court, Port Harcourt (presided over by Honourable Justice Z. M. Bashir, J.,) has granted an Order of Interim Injunction in Suit No. NICN/PHC/41/2020 (Attorney-General, Rivers State Vs. Comrade Beatrice Itubo, Comrade Austin Jonah, Comrade Mathew Olaba, Comrade Prince Ndukwe & Opuwari A. Ogbada) restraining the defendants either by themselves or through their servants, agents, privies, officers or otherwise howsoever called from embarking on a strike on Monday 23rd March, 2020, or any other day thereafter, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive Motion on Notice filed in this suit.

“The Trial Court also granted an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the provision of services and other works by their members in the Civil Service of Rivers State pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion on notice filed in this suit.”

The mood has increased the tension already caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in the country which requires all hands to be on deck. Many fear that disruption of essential services in the state could expose the people to danger.