My attention has just been drawn to a case conducted by Aare Afe Babalola SAN on behalf of the FGN as far back as 2004. It arose from an increase in the price of petrol and a subsequent threat by Oshiomole & NLC to embark on a strike action. The Federal High Court (Coram Ukeje CJ) found as follows:

1. NLC is a union,
2. Unions can only strike in furtherance of labour/trade union activities,
3. Petroleum pricing is governed by the PPPRA pursuant to the PPPRA Act,
4.‎ It is clear from the PPPRA Act that petroleum pricing policy and mechanisms are not labour/trade disputes,
5. The word ‘strike’ as defined under the Trade Dispute Act contemplates an action done in agitation for improved terms of employment and conditions at the work place NOT an agitation for a change in the price of a commodity.
6. The NLC therefore had no legal right to embark on a strike over petroleum pricing.

Please see Oshiomole v FGN no. 1 reported in nwlr part 907 and Oshiomole v FGN no. 2 reported in nwlr part 1035‎ for the decisions of the Court of Appeal affirming Ukeje CJ’s decision.

The matter is still pending at the Supreme Court.

Ikeazor Akaraiwe
Solicitor & Advocate & Notary Public

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