October 3, 2023

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The Nigerian Industrial Court (NIC), yesterday, forestalled protest plans by the Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to embark on a nationwide strike following fuel subsidy removal. Justice O. Y. Anuwe issued the interim order within a 48-hour deadline, adjourning further hearing till the 19th of June as many Nigerians looked forward to expressing their frustration with many members of the government who opposed the subsidy removal barely eight years ago.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the controversial president-elect, had taken the nation by storm on May 29th after declaring an immediate petrol subsidy removal with no accompanying cushioning effect. The grossly insensitive decision saw the cost-of-living spike 300%, with the inflation rate likely to exceed 33% by the next index report.

The ruling by the Industrial Court marks the latest in a series of politically induced judicial misbehaviors boldly administered by the nation’s lawmaking arm to the detriment of citizens.

On May 26th, all three justices at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal unanimously absconded their duties deemed critical to forestalling the installation of a convicted drug pusher as President, at the behest of elite political forces.

Similar forces held play in the Kano state Federal High Court, where a learned justice rooted in micro-cowardice sought to overturn the gubernatorial results of Abia state. The script is all too familiar, reminiscent of the 2019 kangaroo hyper-charade that foisted a 4th-placed governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma, to the gubernatorial seat of Imo State.

The culmination of these disgraceful misconducts, largely caused by bribe-induced subjugation to political elites, has cascaded into a flagrant disrespect for rulings. Immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, disobeyed court orders over 60 times throughout his eight-year tenure, Nasir El Rufai, his antisemitic terrorist-apologist counterpart, flagrantly flaunted over 3000 court orders during his tenure as governor.

Now with the NIC forestalling the right of Nigerian workers to protest aggravated hardship, the Nigerian Judiciary has made a mess of its reputation as an unbiased arbiter. It is now transmogrified into a cesspool of learned silks commodified by dubious and powerful politicians.

TInubu’s ascent to power is the biggest evidence of a cowardly judiciary—a shameful monochrome circus with a corrupt ruling party as its puppeteers.

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