GOV DICKSON INAUGURATES YENAGOA DIVISION OF THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA; SAYS IT WILL GUARANTEE INDUSTRIAL HARMONY, CONTRIBUTE TO DEV OF STATE
Bayelsa State Government says the establishment of the Yenagoa division of the National Industrial Court would guarantee industrial harmony and contribute to the development of the state.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who made the assertion on Thursday at the opening of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), in Yenagoa, stressed that, the court was crucial to facilitating the resolution of labour and industrial related conflicts in the state.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd), Governor Dickson pointed out that, the government is the biggest employer of labour for now in the state, noting that, deliberate efforts have been made to preserve the independence of the Judiciary to ensure access to justice for the people in line with the vision of the government to in put a virile and effective justice administrative system in place.
The Governor observed that, with the industrial court in place, litigants who, hitherto travel long distances to States like Cross River and Ondo to prosecute cases, would now heave a sigh of relief.
His words: “As a government, we are aware that our people and indeed lawyers representing them have to travel long distances to Calabar, Cross River and Akure, Ondo States to prosecute and defend labour related matters. Being in tune with the yearnings of our people, we are aware that, there are those who could not even take their labour cases to the national industrial court due to paucity of funds. The implication is that, these grievances are left unventilated and the aggrieved party frustrated and bitter.
“The establishment of this division with the active support of the government will certainly address this challenge as justice has now been brought to the door step of our people.”
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Babatunde Adejumo had said, the vision of the NICN is to bring justice delivery closer to the people at minimal cost, more convenient and quicker.
To achieve this, Justice Adejumo noted that efforts have been made to ensure that, the judicial divisions of the court are equipped with latest infrastructure in terms of working tools and congenial work environment, adding that from a staff strength of 123, the court now has a total of 1, 500.
Also speaking, the state Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, represented by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Daniel Ayah, urged the Bar in the state to take full advantage of the establishment of the court by giving it all the cooperation needed to ensure that its objectives are fully realized.
Earlier in an address, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Kemasuode Wodu, pointed out that, the court has the exclusive original jurisdiction in the country to entertain all matters relating to labour, employment, trade unions and industrial relations.
He, however, advised lawyers, who would handle such matters to adequately prepare themselves for the task ahead as the process of appealing against decisions of the court is not as free as those of the high courts and other superior courts.
In their goodwill messages, the Chairman of the Yenagoa branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, Dr. Anthony Okorodas and the most senior member of the Bar, Chief Festus Lott, paid tributes to all including the Governor, who worked for the establishment of the court in Yenagoa, which is presided over by Justice Agbadu Fishim.