The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Tuesday lauded workers in the judiciary for keeping the wheel of justice rolling through collective efforts.
The CJN also said that the roles and contributions of judicial officers in nation building are clear demonstration of dignity of labour.
Justice Muhammad who was speaking at a lecture to mark the 2020/2021 legal year celebration of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
He described the topic of the lecture, “Dignity of labour and labour justice” as apt considering the present circumstances, adding that the justice sector has enhanced access to justice despite the enormous risks posed by COVID-19.
He said, “Let me use this opportunity to commend everyone in the justice sector for acting promptly to ensure that access to justice and justice delivery were not hindered despite the enormous risk posed by the pandemic.”
The CJN who was represented by Justice Musa Abba-Aji enjoined all stakeholders to join hands in the quest to do justice to all people without fear or favour.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the president of the court, Justice Bakwaph Kanyip described the twin concepts of dignity of labour and labour justice in terms of the right to work as not just about the right to be employed, but to be given work when employed.
According to Kanyip, the role of the court, especially as a specialized court was not solely the enforcement of mere contractual rights, saying the jurisdiction can also be invoked to prevent unfair labour practice.
In his own remarks, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who also hailed the advocacy for better welfare and reward for labour assured both the court and the labour that the lawmakers are willing to be partners in progress.
Gbajabiamila added that workers in the country should be encouraged and dignified as obtainable in Austria and other parts of the world.
The guest lecturer at the occasion and Archbishop of Sokoto Diocess, Rev. Father Hassan Mathew Kukah warned that workers should not just have dignity of labour, but must also get justice.
In a brief remarks, former president of the court, Rtd. Justice Babatunde Adejumo praised the judges on the bench for their performance over the years.
President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in his speech described labour as a creator of wealth which must be respected in line with the Philadelphia Charter of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
System of reward, according to him is not working for the country, saying the country has depreciated in enhancing labour justice.
The NLC president urged the Industrial Court to avoid making orders that would infringe on the fundamental human rights of Nigeria workers.