Unlawful Sack of Female Staff: NLC Mounts Pressure On Aturu To Take Over Defence

nlc-logoThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) may have mounted pressure on human rights lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, to personally take charge of the defence of a legal suit over unlawful termination of appointment brought against it by one of its former staff, Comrade Esther Ogunfowora, at the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja.
At the resumed hearing in the matter presided over by President of the court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, neither NLC’s lawyer previously handling the case, Anthony Itedjere Esq., nor the defendants, NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar and others were present. However, the registrar told the court that Barrister Itedjere called him on phone to inform the court that he was no longer in charge of the matter and that his principal, Barrister Bamidele Aturu, will henceforth defend the charge of unlawful termination brought before the court by Comrade Ogunfowora.
Our correspondent gathered from sources at the NLC headquarters that the decision to put pressure on the human rights lawyer to take over NLC’s defence followed the labour centre’s defeat by its former Acting Head of Information and Public Relation, Comrade Onah Iduh, in February this year.
Some principal officers at the NLC headquarters, it was gathered, decided to impress it upon Aturu to personally take over the case as against delegating “just any lawyer” from his chambers, Bamidele Aturu and Co.
According to a reliable source at his chambers, Aturu’s reluctance to handle the matter in person even though he had been on the retainership of the NLC for years derived from his well known trajectory as a human rights crusader who might not be willing to defend the NLC if it had become an alleged abuser of the rights of its employees.
Comrades Ogunfowora and Iduh had sometime in 2011 dragged the NLC to court on allegations that their appointments were unlawfully terminated and asked for combined damages up to the sum of N30 million naira. While Iduh got a favourable judgment on February 28, 2013, Ogunfowora’s case had suffered repeated adjournments on technical grounds.
While adjourning the matter to July 4, 2013 for continuation of hearing, Justice Adejumo urged both parties in dispute to settle the case out of court on the basis of the judgment already given on the sister case between Comrade Onah and the NLC.

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