ANALYSIS OF THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT ACT 2006 UNDER THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION

ANALYSIS OF THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT ACT 2006 UNDER THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION

ABSTRACT

The National Industrial Court (hereinafter referred to as the NIC) was established in 1976 by the Trade Disputes Decree No 7 of 1976 with jurisdiction to settle trade disputes, the interpretation of collective agreements and matters connected therewith. There were identifiable lapses in the status, powers and jurisdiction of the NIC that impacted negatively on its operations; the jurisdiction of the Court which was expressed to be exclusive was shared with the Federal and State High Courts, the Court lacked competence to make declarations and orders of injunction and thus seen as an inferior court. This state of affairs gave impetus to the enactment of the National Industrial Court Act 2006 (hereinafter called the NIC Act 2006) which granted the NIC a superior court status, with exclusive civil jurisdiction to deal with labour and other related matters. This NIC Act 2006 generated a lot of controversies in terms of the exclusive jurisdiction and superior court status granted the Court by the Act, in view of the constitutional provisions thereof. Consequently, the Constitution (Third Alteration) Act 2010 was enacted to remedy the situation. The perceived problem that motivated this study is the heated controversy generated by the inadequacies of the NIC Act 2006. The objective of this work is to ascertain whether the Constitution Third Alteration Act 2010 addressed those inadequacies of the NIC Act 2006 and achieved the goal of institutionalizing the NIC as a specialised court for the resolution of labour labour disputes and other related matters, employment, industrial relations, and other related matters. The method employed was to examine the provisions of the NIC Act 2006 and that of the Constitution (Third) Alteration Act 2010. This work found out that though the Constitution (Third) Alteration Act 2010 corrected some of the lapses of the NIC Act 2006 and expanded the jurisdiction of the NIC, there still exist loopholes identified among others to include the inadequate Constitution of the NIC by at least 13 (thirteen) judges and lack of prescription by an Act of the National Assembly for appeals to the Court of Appeal over its decisions. It was recommended among others that the NIC should be constituted of not less than 37 Judges and that the National Assembly should make a prescription for appeals to the Court of Appeal from the decisions of the NIC.