History was made today Monday 5th October 2020 as the National Industrial Court of Nigeria held the very first special court sitting to mark the beginning of a new legal year. The Hon. President of the Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, Ph.D, FNIALS officially declared the 2020/2021 New Legal year open.
In his address, the Hon. President appreciated the effort of his predecessors most importantly his immediate predecessor, Justice Babatunde Adejumo legacy in terms of the Court’s physical structures and constitutional recognition.
His Lordship Maintained that labour justice delivery, which is the hallmark of the Court’s mandate will continue to be their mainstay in line with international best practices, and that the improvement, welfare, and indeed wellbeing, of the Judges and staff of the Court; retreats and re-training of Judges and staff will continue to be of utmost importance.
Justice Kanyip stated that technological infrastructures have been put in place for the timely dispensation of Justice delivery in line with the recently issued Practice directions and guidelines for COVID-19 with regards the Court’s sittings.
“No doubt more work exists to take the Court to greater heights. Our headquarters is still being constricted; the Divisions are being maintained; and labour justice delivery, the hallmark of our mandate, has continually been our mainstay. The dictates of global labour justice continues to be relevant as we discharge our constitutional mandate given that we are the only Court in the country constitutionally enjoined to apply international best practices in labour treaties, conventions, protocols and recommendations on as ratified by Nigeria when adjudicating.
“The future of the Court looks very bright. We will continue to strive to attain excellence by improving on the justice delivery mechanisms allowed us by law, just so that access to justice is easy and affordable to all who require the services of the Court.” Justice Kanyip
Also in his remark, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami while appreciating the contribution of the Court to the resolution of trade disputes and industrial relation matter in the country which has helped to rekindle the confidence of foreign investors in the stability of the industrial relations in Nigeria, urged the Noble Lords to maintain sanctity and credibility and to continue to ensure that the sacred integrity reposed on your Lordships remain unshaken at all times in order to foster and promote public confidence in all judgments and rulings that emanate from the court.
In the same vain, the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata Esq confessed that the National Industrial Court remains a model-court in many respects with regards to the approach of the Court to its constitutional responsibilities and the professionalism showed by its staff in matters of case management, correspondence with counsel and litigants and the discipline brought to bear in the aesthetics and general outlook of the Court across various divisions, commended their Lordships and the staff of the Court for the display of environmental awareness and investment in corporate communications and relations which continues to distinguish the Court from others.
Also in his remark, the Doyen of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Alh. Abdulahi Ibrahim, SAN, CON able represented by Asiwaju Awomolo SAN expressed that the recent timely interventions of the court in industrial disputes all over the country have justified the wisdom in creating the court as a specialized court, called for more specialized Courts in the Country to facilitate quick disposal of cases.
The eminent jurists who graced the event are the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho, The Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Rufai Imam, the Hon. Judges of the Federal High Court and Federal Capital Territory and Hon. Justice Babatunde Adejumo OFR (Retired) to mention a few.
Lastly, the Hon. President also expressed deepest appreciation to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, NJC, FJSC for their support, especially in these very difficult and challenging times.
Justice Kanyip while extending thanks to the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives for all their support, which has been immeasurable, stated that between 1st October 2019 and 2nd October 2020 more than 724 Judgments and 215 Rulings were delivered and uploaded onto the court’s website.
“I often tell them, and I wish to reiterate it further, that the governance structure in the Court is, and will continue to be a collective one where each have roles to play, I call for all hands to be on deck in order to move this Court forward. We must not lose sight of our goal, which remains the delivery of labour justice in as quick a time as is humanly and legally possible.” Justice Kanyip stated.