The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has faulted a recent decision by Justice Hamza Muazu of an FCT High Court to deliver an ex parte order suspending the Labour Party national chairman, Julius Abure, amongst others, based on ‘unfounded’ allegations.
The NLC expressed concern over what it called the growing trend of judges granting ex parte orders without due regard for the principles of natural justice and fair hearing.
While claiming that the motion ex parte leading to Abure’s suspension was filed based on “highly speculative” allegations of forgery by ‘dubious’ elements, the NLC said it strongly suspects that the suspension was aimed at distracting the Labour Party from its ongoing legal challenge of the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
The NLC, which is an umbrella body for trade unions in the country, called on the judiciary to exercise caution and uphold the principles of natural justice and fair hearing, particularly in cases involving political parties and their leaders.
It said the judiciary must be mindful of the potential impact of their decisions on democratic processes and the rule of law.
“We similarly join the league of those who canvass against the casual use of exparte in light of the grievousness of the injuries they quite often inflict.
“We also note that this extant court order does not only violate the principle of presumption of innocence, a cardinal pillar of our judicial system, it is an affront to justice itself. We find it curious that while ex-convicts continue to occupy ample space in the public service or space without let or hindrance, those yet to be found guilty are already being harangued or hounded are being debarred from holding office.
“Finally, the continued relevance of our courts cannot be divorced from the quality of their decisions or rulings. Accordingly, our courts are advised to refrain from taking decisions which portray them as having descended into the arena, or worse still, make them pocketable,” the NLC President, Joseph Ajaero, said in a statement on Thursday, noting that “The quartet, therefore, remain executives of the party. In light of the foregoing, we invite the honourable court to review its decision forthwith.”
Ajaero added, “On the next adjourned date we are going to be in court in our numbers to listen to the Judge.”
Other party executives affected by the suspension are the LP National Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Ibrahim and National Treasurer, Clement Ojukwu, among others.
The motion ex parte for their suspension was filed by party executives in Abure’s ward in Benue State.
Recall that Abure and others approached a High Court in Edo State and secured an order stopping the party from effecting their suspension from office.