Mr. Femi Falana, a renowned human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has asserted that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its allies have the legal right to hold protests against government policies that negatively affect their members.
On the other hand, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Assembly (NECA) has expressed concerns about recent mobilizations by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) for industrial strikes and civil actions. NECA is calling for a reconsideration of these actions, citing potential dangers to sustainable enterprises and national development.
The TUC has announced its plan to hold a meeting this week to decide on the next course of action to press the government to address their demands.
Mr. Falana, however, emphasized that the right to demonstrate and protest on matters of public interest is an individual right that should be exercised freely as long as no wrongful act is committed.
In a letter dated July 28, 2023, addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of the Federation, Falana refuted claims that the NLC was in contempt of any court order.
The federal government had accused the NLC leaders of disobeying a ruling from the National Industrial Court by organizing peaceful rallies to protest the country’s worsening economic crisis. Falana clarified that there was no court order that restrained Nigerian workers from participating in peaceful rallies organized by the NLC or any other group.