The National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Benin City, Edo State, has declared the June 8, 2022 directive from the state government suspending trade union activities in tertiary institutions as unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at Ambrose Alli University challenged Governor Godwin Obaseki‘s directive in court.
The ASUU sought for the court to declare the directive unconstitutional and to prevent the state government from interfering in their trade union activities at the University.
The union approached the NICN through its lawyer, Kingsley Obamogie, in a suit No: NICN/BEN/40/2022, to challenge the directive of Governor 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.
“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.”
Justice A. A. Adewemimo ruled in favour of the ASUU, stating that the state government was wrong to suspend trade union activities.
Dr Cyril Onogbosele, ASUU Chairman at the university, praised the ruling as “a victory for constitutionalism, the rule of law, and due process.”