BENIN — TWO legal practitioners in Edo State, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi and former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association in the state, Mr. Razaq Esenalumhe, have described the statement credited to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, in which he said that the injunction granted by the National Industrial Court, NIC, restraining the government from conducting the competency test for teachers in public primary and secondary schools in the state, was a black market injunction, as unguarded and unfortunate.
It will be recalled that Justice A. Adejumo of the NIC sitting in Abuja had on March 22, 2014, restrained the state government from going ahead with the conduct of the test, which was slated for the next day.
However, Governor Oshiomhole, in an interview with a national newspaper, weekend, said: “Another thing was this black market injunction which was issued by the President of the Industrial Court. I use my words carefully; a black market injunction purportedly by Justice Adejumo, because the court is a creation of the law, it cannot do violence to the law.”
He had added that “the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, I understand, had applied for injunction at the Akure Division of the court which covers Edo State. The judge, in his wisdom, asked that the government be placed on a notice and fixed date for hearing, only for Justice Adejumo, in Abuja, another division of the same court, to issue injunction restraining Edo State Government from assessing its teachers. It is so ridiculous.”
The governor had said that he had written a petition to the NJC on the purported injunction, adding that Justice Adejumo cannot turn the NIC to his instrument that he can use according to his whims and caprices.
But counsel to Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASSUS, Olayiwola Afolabi, while reacting to the governor’s comment in a telephone interview, advised the NJC to ignore the petition from Edo State Government and accused the government of having no respect for court orders.
“I want to state in clear terms that the government has no respect for court orders. They only obey court orders that favour them. Examples abound of the government’s disobedience to court orders as in the case of Bendel Brewery, which sent the state’s former Attorney General to prisons and the orders given by late Justice Eromonsele preventing the government from interfering with the Private Refuse Collectors.
“For the governor to call Justice Adejumo’s order ‘black market injunction’ is very unfortunate and a contempt of court. I advise the Attorney General of the state to resign his appointment if his advice is no longer needed by the governor in order to save his legal career.”
On his part, former Chairman of Benin branch of NBA, Mr. Rasaq Esenalumhe, said: “It is an unguarded statement. If there is no rule of law, there will be anarchy and he would not have been the governor of Edo State if there was no rule of law.”