Shortly after canceling its nationwide strike, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a threat to carry out another industrial action if the Federal Government does not retract its legal action against labour leaders. During a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, August 3, 2023, NLC President Joe Ajaero demanded that the government withdraw the contempt charge against labour unions by Friday, August 11, 2023. It should be noted that on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, the Federal Government filed a contempt lawsuit against the NLC and its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), for protesting against the removal of fuel subsidies. Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, recently urged the NLC and TUC to retract the seven-day notice they issued regarding their plan to initiate a nationwide industrial action on August 2.
In a statement in July, Jedy-Agba warned that the planned strike would be considered contempt of court, which is an offense punishable by imprisonment. However, despite the court injunction against the planned action, the organized labour proceeded with the strike, claiming that the government had delayed its promise to provide relief measures to alleviate the effects of subsidy removal.
The protest resulted in the shutdown of banks, markets, courts, and businesses in many cities, severely impacting economic activities across the country. In response to the unions’ actions, the government initiated contempt of court proceedings, accusing the labour leaders of disobeying a court order. Expressing their anger towards this development, the NLC stated in a Thursday statement that the Ministry of Justice and National Industrial Court have allowed themselves to be manipulated as agents of anti-democracy. The union declared that although it had agreed to suspend its protests following a meeting with President Bola Tinubu, it would commence another nationwide strike on August 14, 2023, if the government does not withdraw the lawsuit against its leaders.