by: Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The President of the National Industrial Court (NIC) Justice Babatunde Adejumo, on Friday advised President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi to explore an amicable settlement of the dispute caused by Sanusi’s suspension from office.
Justice Adejumo gave the advice at the resumed hearing of the suit filed by Sanusi to challenge the propriety of his suspension from office by President Jonathan prior to the expiration of his tenure.
President Jonathan suspended Sanusi on February 20 following which he sued the President, the AGF and IGP at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging his suspension and seeking to restrain the defendants from arresting and prosecuting him.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja declined jurisdiction over the case and transferred it to the NIC. Parties were expected to argue their applications for stay of proceedings on Friday only for plaintiff’s lawyer, Kola Awodein (SAN) to inform the court of his intention to consult his client before taking any further steps in the case.
Awodein noted that between the last date and Friday, some developments have occurred relating to the plaintiff to necessitate his lawyers taking further instructions from him. He applied for time to enable him consult with his client.
Lawyers to the defendants, including Mike Ozekhome (SAN) did not object to Awodein’s application. He acknowledged being informed, before the court’s proceedings, of the plaintiff lawyer’s desire for time to consult with his client.
Before adjourning, Justice Adejumo said he would adjourn for parties to seek ways of ensuring an amicable settlement in the case. He said unlike any other conventional courts, his court was mandated to encourage disputing parties to ensure amicable settlement.
“I will strongly commend, by virtue of the provision of this court’s establishment Act, that parties seek amicable way of resolving this dispute. In industrial and employment relations the court is not concern about the consequence of its pronouncement on parties alone, but on the entire society.
“In consulting with their clients, counsel should know what to say to contribute to the effort to ensure amicable settlement,” Justice Adejumo said.