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NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT APPLIES INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES WHILE ADJUDICATING

Dictum

Section 254C(1)(f) and (h), and (2) of the 1999 Constitution and section 7(6) of the National Industrial Court (NIC) Act 2006 permits this Court to, when adjudicating, apply international best practices in labour, and the Treaties, Conventions, Recommendations and Protocols on labour ratified by Nigeria. They accordingly form part of the corpus of our labour laws in the country, which can be judicially noticed … By 2020, His Lordship Ogakwu, JCA in Sahara Energy Resources Ltd v. Mrs Olawunmi Oyebola [2020] LPELR-51806(CA) would read section 254C(1)(f) and (h), and (2) of the 1999 Constitution as imposing an “obligation on [the National Industrial Court of Nigeria – NICN] to now apply good or international best practices in adjudication”.

— B.B. Kanyip, J. FG v. ASUU (2023) – NICN/ABJ/270/2022

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MEMBER STATES TO PROTECT CITIZENS – KILLING – REASONABLENESS IN RESPONDING – (ECOWAS Court)

Member States must ensure that all reasonable measures have been taken to protect all the rights guaranteed under the African Charter and other International human Rights instruments to which they are signatories. It should however be noted that the Respondent will not automatically be held in violation of its obligation to protect once there are killings. The circumstances leading to the killing and destruction must be such as to render the Respondent in breach of its obligation to protect. The watch word here is reasonableness. Reasonableness depends on the circumstance of each case. What is reasonable in one case may be unreasonable in another case under different circumstances. Where there is an unanticipated and spontaneous uprising leading to the killing of persons the test of reasonableness will be how promptly the authorities responded to quell the uprising and protect further killings. However where the authorities had notice of the impending uprising and did nothing, either to protect the people or nip it in the bud, their action will be unreasonable even if they promptly arrived at the scene to quell the uprising once some people have been killed or injured.

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 101

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MEMBER STATES HAVE DUTY TO PROTECT ALL PERSONS IN TERRITORY – (ECOWAS Court)

Similarly, this Court has held in plethora of cases that member States have a duty to protect all persons on its territory and to investigate and punish all acts of violations committed on its territory. See Hadijatu Mani Koraou v. The Republic of Niger (2004-2009) CCJELR p 240; Sidi Amar Ibrahim & Anor v. Republic of Niger (2011) ECW/CCJ/JUD/02/11; Badini Salfo v. Burkina Faso (2012) ECW/CCJ/JUD/13/12; Tidjani Konte v. Republic of Ghana; Obioma Ogukwe V Republic of Ghana, (2016) ECW/CCJ/JUD/20/16 para 8.3.

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 117

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NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT IS TO UPHOLD INTERNATIONAL BEST LABOUR PRACTICES

This Court is equally bound by section 254C-(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution [as altered] to prevent unfair labour practices and also to enforce international best practices. International best practices in labour and employment relations are found in ILO’s conventions, treaties, protocols and standards. In addition, [Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019] is actually an elaboration of section 254C-(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution [as altered],which gives this Court jurisdiction over issues arising from workplace, particularly with regards to the conditions of service, including health, safety, welfare of labour, employee, worker and matters incidental thereto or connected therewith, in conjunction with section 254C-(1)(f), which mandates this Court to prevent unfair labour practice and enforce international best practices in employment and labour relations. In essence, ILO [Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019] merely gives flesh to the dry bones of section 254C-(1)(a), (f)&(h) of the 1999 Constitution [as altered], as a mirror of international best practices, which section 254C-(1)(a), (f)&(h) of the Constitution actually envisioned.

— O.O. Arowosegbe, J. Danjuma v Royal Salt Ltd. & Anor. (2020) – NICN/EN/40/2016

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WHERE HARM IS DONE BY BREACH OF INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATION, STATE MUST MAKE REPARATIONS – (ECOWAS Court)

State Parties are duty bound to provide effective protection of the rights and freedoms to all persons within their jurisdiction in respect of the international Human Rights Instruments they have signed unto. Where harm has been caused by the breach of its international obligations, it must make adequate reparations. The purpose of reparation can be viewed from two angles. On the one hand, it requires States to observe certain standards of law and order; and on the other hand to repair to the extent possible, any injuries caused as a result of a State’s failure to meet those standards. In situation of mass killings and wanton destruction of properties as in the case at hand, the obligations comprise a duty to effectively prevent, investigate, prosecute, punish and provide redress for human rights violations. These obligations are not mutually exclusive. Victims of human rights violations, or their next-of-kin, have the right to effective redress for the wrongs committed. Wherever possible, such redress should be in the form of restitution of rights violated. If restitution is not possible, fair compensation for pecuniary and/or moral damages must be awarded. Redress in the form of rehabilitation should also be envisaged whenever necessary for victims. Jurisprudence abound to support these obligations. In the case of INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA, AND ASSOCIATION MAURITANIENNE DES DROITS DE L’HOMME V. MAURITANIA, COMMUNICATION NO. 373/09 (2009) PARAGRAPHS 28 AND 29: The African Commission stated: “That victims of human rights violations legitimately expected that, they would receive effective remedies to restore their rights.” In the same vein this Court held in TIDJANI KONTE V. REPUBLIC OF GHANA (2004) ECW/CCJ/JUD/11/14, that: “…even when perpetrators have been prosecuted, the State is still required to ensure the payment of reparation or damages to the victims in respect of the violation of their human rights.”

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 127 – 128.

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FAILURE FOR MEMBER STATE TO INVESTIGATE IS VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATION – (ECOWAS Court)

Where a State is aware of the occurrence of acts amounting to violation of human rights in its territory and fails to carry out effective investigation into the violation so as to identify those responsible and hold them accountable, such State will be in violation of its obligation under international law. In an Application where an allegation of the violation of the right to life and failure to investigate was made, the Court held that: “The right to life imposes an obligation on States to investigate all acts of crime and bring perpetrators to book.” SEE DEYDA HYDARA JR & 2 ORS V REPUBLIC OF GAMBIA ECW/CCJ/JUD/17/14.

— The Registered Trustees of Jama’a FOUNDATION v FRN ECW/CCJ/JUD/04/20 para. 121

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NIGERIAN COURTS WILL UPHOLD TREATIES AND CONVENTIONS RATIFIED

Our Courts apply strictly conventions and treaties entered into by this country. This was stated very forcefully by the Supreme Court, on the matter of compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, in the case of Abacha v Fawehinmi (2000) 6 NWLR Part 660 Page 228 at 289 Paragraph B-D per Ogundare...

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