‘Great Expectations’: The National Industrial Court and its Prospects of Furthering Social Rights in Nigeria

Authors Nsongurua Udombana & Ngozi Udombana

ISSN: 2521-2613 Affiliations: Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2019, Issue 1, p. 86 – 114


The Nigeria Constitution 1999 makes the application of treaties contingent on their domestic transformation through a legislative enactment. This requirement, coupled with the question of justiciability, poses challenges to the judicial interpretation and application of economic and social rights, in particular. A recent amendment to the Constitution permits the National Industrial Court (NIC) to interpret and apply labour rights guaranteed in treaties, though they may not have been transformed into municipal law. Working on the premise that courts have a critical role to play in realising social rights, we argue that this development gives the NIC a rare opportunity to advance social rights. We call on NIC judges to boldly deploy their enhanced mandate to interpret the relevant labour-related treaties in ways that advance social rights in Nigeria.