Justice kanyip and the road to the development of Labour Jurisprudence in Nigeria

Undoubtedly, labour and industrial related disputes are serious issues in any nation. Labour dispute has Staggering effects on both the social and economic sectors of a country resulting in low productivity, unemployment, wastage of human resources and many other problems.

To avert this, countries have advocated for expeditious resolution of labour dispute before it goes out of hand. Rising to the occasion, the Nigeria Government, in the year 2006, after several years of confusion and problems associated with the jurisdictions of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria came out with statutory regulation on the matter and the third alteration of the 1999 constitution cured all lacunas associated with the status of the court.

The administration of Justice Adejumo Rtd put the court into the limelight, as we know that development is a continuous process, this analysis aims to give a synopsis of the road to the development of Labour Jurisprudence in Nigeria under the new leadership.

The acting president of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip hails from Southern Kaduna, attended the prestigious Northern premier Ahmadu Bello University named after the first and only premier of the Northern Nigeria region, Sir Ahmadu Bello and obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1985.

Ahmadu Bello University is a federal government research university in Zaria, Kaduna State, North West, Nigeria founded on 4th October 1962.

Justice Kanyip was a member of the Nigerian Bar class of 86’ and subsequently enrolled as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip started his career as a lecturer in 1987 in the department of commercial law at his alma Mata (ABU) and rose to the position of Lecturer II before leaving in 1992 for the National Commission for Colleges of Education as Legal Adviser in the rank of Principal Legal Officer.

In 1995, he was appointed Senior Research Fellow by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and rose through this appointment to the rank of Associate Research Professor of Law in 2000.

Justice Kanyip was appointed a Judge of the National Industrial Court in 2000 for an initial period of four years although with eligibility for a renewal of a further term of four years and fortunately, In June 2004, having completed the first term, his re-appointment for another term of four years was renewed and with the passing of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006, he became a tenured Judge of the Court and by hierarchy the 2ic.

As second in command to the then retired president of the court Justice Babatunde Adejumo, he worked closely and his contributions to issues bordering on the strengthening of labour jurisprudence and judiciary were always interesting, original, and illuminating.

As a team worker and distinguish jurist, he works along with other colleagues relentlessly and contributed a lot to the achievement of the third alteration act of the 1999 constitution as amended that gives the court constitutional power as a superior court of records.

Justice Kanyip earns the trust of his former boss, Justice adejumo by showcasing total support and allegiance to the past administration and his idea as an erudite jurist makes it comfortable for his boss to have trust in his loyalty.

When asked about if he would like to work with his former boss again, he replied in affirmative that “if I can work with someone for 16years and no quarrel, I will work with him again” this act of loyalty marks him out as a quintessential unifying figure.

Quintessentially, It was indeed, new breadth of fresh air as he was sworn in as acting president of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammed on 2nd October 2019 following the retirement of Hon. Justice Babatunde Adejumo, OFR and upon his appointment by the Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammad Buhari.

Success doesn’t just find someone, we have to go out and get it by Dream bigger and Do bigger as thinking and feelings do not produce action.

Without wasting time, on a path to reposition the court for greatness in tandem with equitable, fair and impactful justices system, My Lord, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip swung into action, rejigs his passion, rolled up his sleeves and had several meetings with the management and staff of the court, and in the clearest term spread his plans for the court, labour jurisprudence, judiciary and to march-on on the achievements of his predecessor.

They say show me your friend and I would tell you your CGPA same goes that, show me your assistant and I will tell you how far you can go in achieving your mandate. It is not a mistake to say Justice Kanyip was the brain-box of the last administration; he contributed meaningfully and always ready to show support where necessary.

The Man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others and the only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today, Justice kanyip gave a marching order to the management and staff, what he won’t accept and what is expected from their ends. He also read a riot act that any form of mediocrity and laziness would not be accepted and everyone is expected to perform their tasks in a professional manner devoid of hatred and ineptitude as greater things never come from comfort zones.

He made it clear that National Industrial court under him will not deviate but rather improved on the achievements of the past, and to better reposition the court in line with best global practices.

At a time when some predecessor would be nursing fear about who they are handling the mantle of leadership to, Justice Adejumo Rtd never envisaged any fear about his successor capacity and capability on the deep knowledge of law, integrity and prudence in the management of resources.

He made it clear for the president Buhari when he came for commissioning of the annexe headquarters edifice the same day valedictory court session was made in his honour, he said “I started everything with Justice Kanyip, I met him in this court, we both applied for no 1 job, to the glory of God, I was chosen. To my surprise, he was the first person to call me to say congratulation and he promised unalloyed loyalty which he never derailed for once. My president, I had no doubt that he will do well.”

In marketing, this singular statement coming from the predecessor would give successor soft landing in the mind of the presidency, literally, the aims of having acting is to know if the person would be able to deliver on the given mandate. With Justice kanyip, his presidency would be a square peg in a round hole.

From the Judiciary, both the bar and the bench know that Justice Kanyip elevation to the presidency of the court would further strengthen the court and the labour jurisprudence in Nigeria.

If you are looking for someone who is gifted, try to meet with Justice kanyip, both in law and others, his a versatile Jurist of high repute and you can take this to the bank that, his tenure and administration would certainly be on knowledge-based.

It is without a doubt that the Industrial Court is marching on greatness, the plethora and the aura of new administration signify the betterment and progressiveness of labour jurisprudence in Nigeria.

“The court as a specialized court, if we don’t give them justice forget it, all the achievements will be zero, the day any of them rises up to say NIC is a useless court, that is the end, we will start hitting the dead head of the court. We are lucky, the court has been accepted, there are other courts you give, they will say NO! it is what NIC says then we will listen to you, they’ve accepted the court as a place where they can get justice and they are happy with the court.” Justice Kanyip stated this during a media chat on the commemoration of the retirement of Justice Adejumo, OFR

As an incorruptible Judge, many positive reactions trailed his appointment, some opined and described him as one of the stars of Judiciary who is a genius about anything labour. He knew of hand why the section of each act was documented and some described him as the best man for the job not only because of his hierarchy in the judicial system, but also his efficacy in justice and fairness, and the enormous achievements recorded in the course of his career.

Without any gainsaying, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria under his lordship has been positioned and trademarked for greatness and would continue to be a template for the effective administration of justice system with negative tolerance for corruption.

Professor Kanyip is the author of numerous journal articles in the areas of consumer law, tax law, labour law and commercial law. He is the author of the book, Consumer Protection in Nigeria: Law, Theory and Policy (2005) and a joint author of the text, Elements of Commercial Law (1994).

 

Furthermore, In a bid to reward competency and to globally reward his contribution to the body of Knowledge, The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies bestowed on him, the prestigious fellowship.

Professor Kanyip in the past concluded a study for the design of a Draft Labour Policy and Strategic Plan of Action for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and also carried out a review of all the labour laws in Nigeria at the behest of the International Labour Organisation (ILO); and was subsequently nominated by the Federal Government of Nigeria as one of its two nominees in the Technical Committee for the reform of all the labour laws in the country.

Professor Kanyip is member, Nigerian Bar Association; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal studies; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; Life Member and Deputy President II, Nigerian Society of International Law. He is a contributing editor of several academic law journals.

Fatai Abiodun writes from Abuja.

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