His Lordship, Hon. Justice Bashar A. Alkali of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Yenagoa on Tuesday 9th October, 2018 in a landmark judgment declared that the Non-Academic Staff Union Of Educational & Associated Institutions (NASU) is the Proper Trade Union having jurisdictional scope over workers of the State Universal Basic Education Board Rivers State (3rd Defendant) and ordered the Executive Chairman and Management of State Universal Basic Education Board, Rivers State to accord only NASU the recognition as such. by the combined effects of section 40 & 45(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, section 12 & Paragraph 8, First Schedule of the Trade Union (Amendment) Act, 2005 and section 5(3) and 9(6) of the Labour Act, 2004.
The Claimant sought against defendants among others:
A DECLARATION that by the combined effects of Section 40 of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 8 and 12 of Trade Unions Act 2004, S. 9(6) Labour Act 2004, the proper/right Trade Union to operate in the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board is the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and not the Nigeria Civil service Union (Rivers State Council).
A DECLARATION that consequent upon relief (i) above, the recognition accorded the 1st and 2nd Defendants by the 3rd and 4th Defendant – State Universal Basic Education Board, Rivers State, the Executive Chairman and Management of State Universal Basic Board, Rivers State is illegal and violates “S.8 of the Trade Union Act, 2004:
A DECLARATION that consequent upon reliefs (i and ii) above, the 2nd Defendant is to render account of all check-off dues illegally paid to him by the 4th Defendant and remit same to the Claimant.
In his considered judgement, Justice A. Alkali held:
“It is common knowledge that the Federal Military Government had, because of the proliferation of trade unions with divergent aspirations and objectives, regrouped and reorganized trade unions in Nigeria reducing their number to 71 (currently they are 29) from a stunning 800 and upon which the Trade Union (Amendment) Decree was promulgated in 1978. These Trade Unions and their jurisdictional scopes are still relevant.
“By that exercise, the Nigerian Government brought order and sanity to the trade union movement of this country and I do not think it will be in the interest either of the unions or the country at large to re-introduce a free for all in the Trade Union Movement using the provisions of Section 40 of the constitution or section 12(4) of the Trade Union (Amendment) Act as a shield.
“It is my candid view that since there already exists a trade union to represent the interests of workers of the 3rd Defendant there was no need for the recognition of the 1st Defendant by the 4th Defendant within its institution. Exhibit NCSU 3 is only an advisement from the Head of Service and the Ministry of Justice and are not binding on this Court. The Head of Service had also suggested that aggrieved persons may take up the matter in a Court of law and I believe that is what the Claimant has done.
In conclusion, His Lordship declared that the Claimant are the proper trade union having jurisdictional scope over workers of the 3rd Defendant not the 1st and 2nd Defendants and the 3rd and 4th Defendants are to accord only the Claimant the recognition as such by the combined effects of section 40 & 45(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, section 12 & Paragraph 8, First Schedule of the Trade Union (Amendment) Act, 2005 and section 5(3) and 9(6) of the Labour Act, 2004.
The court further restrained The 4th Defendant or any other agency or department so responsible with the duty of deducting and paying the check-off dues from further paying half of the check-off dues or any check-off dues to the 1st and 2nd Defendants on behalf of the workers of the 3rd Defendant.
Payment of the full check-off dues are to be made henceforth only to the Claimant trade union being the proper and legal trade union having jurisdictional scope over workers of the 3rd Defendant.