The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has faulted the appointments of 12 judges at the National Industrial Court (NIC), claiming they were not qualified to be appointed judges of NIC going by the Act setting up the court.
In a petition to the President of NIC, TUC called for the full investigation of the appointments of the judges to find out why
individuals who did not meet the requirements spelt out for the appointment of NIC judges were appointed.
Specifically, the congress argued that all the newly-appointed judges of the NIC did not meet the required qualifications under Section 2 of the National Industrial Court Act of 2006 which provides for the appointment of legal practitioners for the court. TUC in a petition through its President-General, Peter Esele, said it had confirmed that none of the newly-appointed judges of the NIC met the requirement of the law and therefore were not qualified.
The petition which was copied equally President Goodluck Jonathan, read: “Sequel to the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed 12 new judges for the National Industrial Court in May, 2013. To our utter dismay, the 12 new judge are qualified under Section 2 of the National Industrial Court 2006 which provides for the appointment of legal practitioners of not less than 10 years standing with ‘considerable knowledge and experience in the law and practice of industrial relations and employment conditions in Nigeria” or a graduate of recognised university of not less than 10 years standing and has “considerable knowledge and experience in the law and practice of industrial relations and employment conditions in Nigeria.’
“We have confirmed that none of the newly appointed judges of the National Industrial Court met the requirement of the law and therefore are not qualified to preside over the industrial relations and labour matters. We are therefore compelled, as a major stakeholder in the cases decided by the court to request for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the illegal appointment of the 12 new judges of the NIC by the president based on the recommendations of the NJC. More so, that some lawyers who were qualified by law were not shortlisted by the President of the NIC, Justice Babatunde Adejumo,
because they are not connected to people in high places.
“We have confidence that the Chairman of the NJC and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, who has embarked on patriotic reform of the judiciary will not allow judges who are not qualified to preside over cases in the NIC.”