The Hon. President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, PhD, FNIALS on Tuesday 6th October 2020 stated that Nigeria as a developing economy, the issues of dignity of labour and labour justice are paramount if our development aspirations are to be met, maintained that labour is not a commodity that is bought and sold.
Justice Kanyip stated this at the public lecture tagged Dignity of Labour and Labour Justice in Nigeria organized in commemoration of the 2020/2021 legal year ceremony.
“As a specialized court, so long as justice is not sacrificed, the dictates of labour justice requires that we be guided by principles of flexibility and speed when adjudicating.
“Preventing unfair labour practices is one area where our jurisdiction can be invoked. At Industrial Court, we apply principles of justice, equity and good conscience.
“In a number of cases we have upheld especially the dignity of the female employee in the workplace. And so we have ruled against harassment, bullying and discrimination of especially the female employee in the workplace.
“We have never ceased to stress that an employer cannot treat an employee shabbily and expect a pat on the back from this Court.” Justice Kanyip stated.
Respectably, in his remark, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Dr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR ably represented by Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justice Abba Aji While felicitating with the National Industrial Court on the occasion of the celebration of the 2020 Legal Year used the opportunity to commend all stakeholders in the justice sector for acting promptly in ensuring that access to justice and justice delivery were not hindered despite the enormous risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let me assure you that the contributions of us all from the cleaner to the process server, the bailiff to the court clerk, are recognized and most appreciated. It is a clear demonstration of the realization that there is dignity in what you do. I thank you all.”
The occassion guest lecturer, Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah expressed that workers irrespective of their status in the society should be accorded dignity.
In the same development, the speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila represented by Hon. Chudi Momoh also advocated better welfare for labour assured that the lawmakers are willing to partners with labour union for the optimal reward system, added that workers in the country should be encouraged and dignified as obtainable in other parts of the world, urged the labour union to rise to their responsibilities of protecting rights of labour in the Country.
In his remark, the former president of the court Rtd, Justice Babatunde Adejumo praised the Hon. President of the Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip and the Hon. Judges on their giant stride and sacrifice for moving the Court and the wheel of Justice forward, prayed for more wisdom.
President of the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC, Ayuba Wabba, in his speech described labour as a creator of wealth which must be respected in line with the International Labour Organization convention.
In the same vein, the Director-General, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale submitted that regardless of whether one’s occupation involves physical work or mental labour, every job deserves respect that the only things we should be ashamed of are idleness, and trying to live without labour.
The event was graced by the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Dongbem, Justices of the Court of Appeal, Justices of the Federal High Court and Federal Capital Territory; Hon. Justices of the National Industrial Court, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, members of the Bar, judicial staff and members of the general public.