Nigeria

Nigerian government to upgrade industrial arbitration panel to commission

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, is presently at a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, and his Minister of State, Festus Keyamo.

In bid to ensure an efficient and speedy resolution of industrial disputes between employers and employees, the federal government has announced plans to upgrade the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) into a permanent commission.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this while receiving Federal Arbitrators from the IAP who paid him a courtesy visit on Friday.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations at the Ministry, Mr Charles Akpan, quoted Ngige as saying that the proposed commission would operate with its own bureaucracy.

The minister recalled that the IAP, which came into existence 40 years ago, gave birth to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).

According to him, it was because of IAP that the federal government decided that there should be a gradation of the Labour Law to establish the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

Ngige said: “As at today, the hierarchy of industrial dispute resolution is that we should start here if the people decide to come here to report. We can put up a Tribunal. We can put up a Board of Inquiry if a strike has occurred. If we cannot resolve the dispute here, we then go up to the IAP. If they are not satisfied at the IAP, then they go up to the NICN.

“So, it is the same ladder stepwise formation for the normal disputes. If it is interpersonal, it is State High Court/Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

“More importantly, I want to inform you that in the Labour Law review, which the ILO asked us to do, the IAP is targeted as one of the places we will review, to make it a permanent commission.”

Ngige invited the arbitrators to join the ministry during the validation to make their inputs and contributions, saying: “We may think that we have done everything, but you may point out one or two things not done.”

He assured the arbitrators that the federal government would continue to support them in human resources and capacity building and in terms of material resources.

Speaking on behalf of the arbitrators, Rita Chris Garba, who represented the Chairman of IAP, Aniazoka Zokas, said the arbitrators rose after a four-day intensive workshop on arbitration anchored by the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators.

Garba said they came to sincerely appreciate the minister for approving the capacity building workshop and coming to open and close the programme on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 and Thursday, October 14, 2021 respectively.

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