Early Life and Education
Reading the citation of an eminent and distinguished personality like Hon. Justice Babatunde
Adeniran Adejumo, OFR is without any doubt a herculean task. It is almost impossible to capture
the whole essence of this erudite judicial icon within a short time allotted to an exercise of this nature
Honourable Justice Adejumo, OFR, was born in Ikaram Akoko, Ondo State on the 1st day of October, 1954 to Pa
Oloniyo Adejumo and Princess Awawu Adejumo, both of blessed memory.
His father died three months before his birth; it was a tragedy as he only knew his father in a photograph. He was been taken care off by his maternal grandparents. Justice Adejumo has a chequered early education which was a reflection of the humbleness of his background. He attended Catholic Mission School, Cantonment Lokoja in Kogi State from 1960 to 1962. Thereafter, he attended Muslim Primary School, Ikaram Akoko between 1962 to 1965.
By some divine providence, Hon. Justice Adejumo moved to Owo in Ondo State where he lived with a friend to his late father, Chief Magistrate Sawyer, who was in charge of the then Owo/Akoko Magisterial District. It was at Owo that he completed his Primary Education at St. Patrick’s Primary school in 1966. It is remarkable to note that Honourable Justice Adejumo, OFR never had secondary education. He relocated to Lagos in 1969 and was an apprentice shoe maker between 1969 and 1972. He started his own shoe making business/profession upon his return to Owo in 1973.See more
This unassuming but quintessential man of destiny was recruited into the Nigerian Prison Service as a warder cum shoemaker in 1973.It was by virtue of this employment that he attended Prison’s Training School, Ogbete in Enugu State and received the baton of honours as the best all-round student. Propelled by an undying thirst to be educated and while still serving as a Prison Warder at Abeokuta, he wrote and passed entrance examination to Ansarudeen Teachers’ Training College, Ota, Ogun State in 1978. His Lordship sat for GCE O-level and passed In 1979 and GCE A-Level in 1981 which qualified him to be admitted into the University of Ile-Ife Now Obafemi Awolowo University to study Law in 1982. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws Hons. (LL.B) Degree in 1985 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986. As at the time of graduation from the University of Ile-Ife, his Lordship was Thirty years and six month old and was exempted from National Youth Service Corps on the ground of age.
Career and Appointments
His Lordship, Honourable Justice Adejumo, started his Legal Career in the chambers of J. Osuolale Ojo Esq. (of blessed memory)
between 1986 and 1991.
In 1992, Honourable Justice BabatundeAdejumo, OFR forayed into the world of politics, he was pressurized, contested and was elected
as Hon. Member of the House of Assembly representing Akoko North West Constituency in the old Ondo State House of Assembly.
Then, Ekiti State was under Ondo State.
As a parliamentarian, His Lordship was productive, courageous, prolific and selfless. He defended the collective interest of the people with rare passion and uncommon rigorand competency. As the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Fundamental Human Rights and Public Petition, Justice Babatunde Adejumo promoted the interest of the Ondo State Judiciary. As a lawmaker, his contributions to the issues bordering on strengthening of democracy and humanity were always interesting, original, incisive, and thoughtful. As an Honourablemember, he worked relentlessly with his other colleagues to make sure that the revenue Ondo State is enjoying today came to reality for sponsoring motion to compel Federal government headed by Chief Alex Shonekan to declare Ondo state as Oil Producing State which was granted. Furthermore, In order to allow peaceful and cordial co-existence of the Ijaws peaking people in Ondo state with other Ondo state indigenes, Justice Babatunde Adejumo moved a motion for the speaking of Egberi language in the State’s owned radio and television stations, OSRC. Upon the termination of the civil rule in 1993, Hon Justice Adejumo served as Chief Magistrate from 1994 – 1995 at the then Ondo state and was posted to Ikere Magistarial District, Ondo State.
This was the position he held until his appointment as Deputy Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on December 1995. As the Deputy Chief Registrar, he served as the Secretary Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee cum Advisory Judicial Committee. In 1998, His Lordship’s was appointed as a Judge of the Ondo State Judiciary and was sworn-in on the 5th of November.
Career at NICN
A major milestone was attained in his blossoming judicial career when he was appointed the President of the National Industrial Court on 14th of April,
2003 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR and was sworn in by the then Chief Justice of Nigerian Hon. Justice M. L. Uwais GCON, on 5th of May, 2003.
On his assumption of duty, His Lordship met 123 staff on ground with 5 as graduates, but today, NICN have more than 3,500 staff with over 500 graduates.
It is also worthy of note that His Lordship met only three members of the Court and has now successfully processed the appointment of over 37 judges.
An attempt by the Nigerian government to provide an efficient legal framework for the settlement of trade disputes dates back to 1914 with the promulgation of the Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Inquiry)(Lagos) Ordinance of 1914. Under this ordinance, only ad hoc bodies in the form arbitration tribunals could be set up to handle trade disputes and thus the role of government was merely discretionary at the instance or invitation of parties. To address some of the problems with the Decree, the Trade Disputes Act of 1976 was passed.
This Act created a comprehensive procedure for the settlement of trade disputes combining voluntary and compulsory measures. The Act gave so much power to the minister of labour, which to a large extent negatively affected its efficiency. The court was a mere appendage of the Federal Ministry of labour using the enacted Trade Disputes Act of 1976 as legal framework for the settlement of trade disputes in Nigeria.See more
Lucidly, It became obvious to him that in order to achieve both his long and short term, the enabling laws need to be reviewed, especially the principal
laws. Justice Adejumo mobilized his team and moved into action and eventually on 31st day of
May 2006, the National Assembly passed the National Industrial Court Act 2006. The Act was assented to by then President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the 14th June of 2006 and the act gave exclusive jurisdiction to the Court as a superior Court of record.
The Act established the National Industrial Court as a superior Court of record and conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Court with respect to labour and industrial relations matters. There was a celebration in the court, which never lasted because of the constitutional albatross contesting the court’s superiority within the gamut of laws then.
The climax of this constitutional brouhaha became a daunting reality with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court decision in the case N.U.E.E. v. B.P.E (2010) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1194) pg. 570 para. C-F & pg. 571-572 para. F-E;where the Supreme Court per Eneh J.S.C stated inter alia;
“It means therefore that by Decree No. 47 of 1992 arrogating to the National Industrial Court at superior court of record as has been contended by the appellants does not by that token make the said National Industrial Court a superior court of record without any amendment of the provisions of Section 6(3) and (5) of the 1999 constitution which has listed the only superior courts of record recognized and known to the 1999 Constitution and the list does not include the National Industrial Court; until the Constitution is amended it remains a subordinate court to the High Court and I cite with approval the Court of Appeal decision in Attorney-General of Oyo State v. Nigeria Labour Congress (2003) 8 NWLR (Pt. 821) at 3 indeed a case on all fours with the instant case to the same effect.”
Ordinarily, the Supreme Court decision would have demoralized even an average leader, especially on labour related matters were not only government at all tiers but also the multi-national corporations (MNCs) are joining forces as bourgeoisie in manipulating or suppressing the rights of the proletariats. Rather his lordship rejigged his determination and resolved that in achieving goals, it is not what others believe you can do; it is what you believe you can do, that failure is a willing teacher, a master tutor. His lordship took the hint of the Supreme Court in the aforementioned case in page 572 paragraph B, where the apex court advised….
”until the constitution is amended it remains a subordinate court to the High Court…”
Justice Adejumo recapitulated and moved back to National Assembly and for any person who understand, the rigorous political contour and its mechanism in Nigeria especially that of the National Assembly and the states Houses of Assembly can imagine the stressful energy dissipated by his lordship and his team to lecture the legislature to understand their predicament. Like a film trick, the constitutional albatross hanging over the Court’s neck was eventually unshackled with the passage of the (Third Alteration) Act, 2010. His Excellency, the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, assented to the Bill on the 4th Day of March 2011 after it had successfully passed through all the laid- down processes of the 1999 Constitution in the Senate and House of Representative; and 33 of the 36 State Houses of Assembly in the Federation. The other three State Houses of Assembly could not sit to consider this Bill and other matters of the state due to internal prevailing challenges they faced at that material time. The National Industrial Court of Nigeria is thus the first court to be included in any Nigerian Constitution by a democratically elected Legislature.
The Constitutional superiority of the court, invoked the spirit and intendment of Section 24 of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006 which mandates other trial court to lacks jurisdiction not to strike out or dismiss the suit but to transfer same to the National Industrial Court, it prompted the transfer of all the pending labour related matters to the court as a matter of fact most of these transfers were done suo motu by the trial judges, because it took so much time for so many lawyers to be aware of the constitutional overhaul as regards to National Industrial Court.See more
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria is thus the first court to be included in any Nigerian Constitution by a democratically elected Legislature.
A key feature of the 1999 Constitution, as altered, is that now National Industrial Court of Nigeria is constitutionally recognized under section 6 (5) (cc) and 254A of the Constitution as fourth in the list of superior courts of record. The Court now consists of the President of the Court \and such number of judges of the Court as may be prescribed by an Act of the National of the Assembly.
The Court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil cases and matters relating to labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations, national minimum wage, international best practices in labour and industrial matters, discrimination or sexual harassment at the workplace, application or interpretation of international labour standards, child labour, child abuse, human trafficking, interpretation and application of collective agreements, payment or non-payment of salaries, wages, personnel matters arising from any free trade zone in the federation, etc.
It is unarguable that National Industrial Court of Nigeria under the leadership of Hon. Justice B.A Adejumo OFR has performed like an ideal Industrial Court internationally, that whenever history of National Industrial Court of Nigeria is made without the name of his lordship Hon. Justice B.A Adejumo OFR, the history is incomplete.
“The successful establishment of the NICN as a superior court of records, speaks volumes firstly, it is historic because this is the first time that an individual has pursued a cause that led to the successful alteration of the entire nation’s constitution. No one needs to be reminded on the rigorous and long process altering a constitution takes. Secondly, it is a victory for determination and ruggedness in pursuing a cause one religiously believes in.”
By the virtue of section 254c of the 1999 constitution as amended, the Court was conferred with exclusive Jurisdiction and Power to hear matter relating to workplace, industrial relation and matter pertaining there to.
The Court has established an Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) Center within the Court premises, with Headquarters at Abuja and six (6) geopolitical zones of the country at Kano, Gombe, Enugu, Calabar, Ibadan and Abuja.
By the powers conferred on him by section 254 (f) (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended by the Third Alteration Act, 2010) and section 36 of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006, His Lordship, the president, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, revoked the 2007 Rules of Court and made the 2017 Rules.
The new Rules were tailored towards facilitating the practice and procedures in the court with regard to the expanded jurisdiction and powers of the Court under the new dispensation, and the emerging global trends in labour jurisprudence and industrial relations practice in Nigeria.
The NIC under the leadership of His Lordship has witnessed unprecedented and commendable physical development and territorial expansion. The sprawling NIC complex across the country is an alluring model both in terms of aesthetics and functional infrastructure.
Of a truth, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo OFR is the very best! His management of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria makes it first among equal with unparalleled professionalism. Furthermore, Prior to 2003, the Court has less than 300 cases pending but today the Court has more than 15,000 cases across the federation. His lordship has added to the value of the Court by endearing cordial and peaceful industrial harmony in Nigeria.
NICN under His Lordship is the first Court in Nigeria to introduce unprecedented usage and deployment of Information Communication Technology [ICT] to ease Judicial processes. This facility is widely used and acknowledged by lawyers, litigant and stakeholders.
The first court in Africa to build Mobile App to lessen the stress of litigant
What the lawyers say about the developmentHe is a Man of integrity and unquestionable competence, productive, courageous, prolific and selfless. A man with unrivalled record. An erudite, quintessential jurist, an administrator per excellence, a philanthropist and a detribalize Nigerian.
Hon Justice Babatunde Adejumo OFR, has contributed greatly to the growth and development of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria and his wonderful deeds cannot be overlooked.See more
Through the effort of His lordship, under his administration, NICN has moved from the state of dissolution and has been transformed into something
more beautify and dignified. Today, the NICN under the leadership of His Lordship has witnessed unprecedented and commendable physical development
and territorial expansion.
The sprawling NIC complex across the country is an alluring model both in terms of aesthetics and functional infrastructure.
- Lagos Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Akure Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Awka Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Bauchi Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Bayelsa Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Calabar Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Enugu Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Gombe Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Ibadan Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Jos Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Kaduna Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Kano Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Maiduguri Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Makurdi Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Owerri Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Portharcourt Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Sokoto Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Uyo Division was commissioned in the year 1999
- Yola Division was commissioned in the year 1999
And most importantly, the gigantic and astute construction of newly dignified HeadQuarter complex.
In State where Judicial Divisions have not yet been established, Court Registries have been opened to fast-track the filing and processing of cases there, while the Court continuously plans to upgrade these registries to full-fledged Judicial Division as budgeted resources become available.
This jurist of a very high distinction possesses tremendous scholarly prowess as attested to by an array of papers and lectures he has delivered across the globe, particularly, on issues relating to Labour and Employment Disputes.
Industrial Court Introduces ADR Centre
Awards Recognition and Tribute
Furthermore, Layi Babatunde’s SAN also remarked
“To Hon. Justice Babatunde Adeniran Adejumo OFR President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria; whose untiring efforts, contributed in no small measure in transforming the Court from obscurity to its present status as a superior Court of record, with presence nationwide thereby bringing justice closer to the people”
Sequel to His Lordship immense contributions to nation-building, meritorious and unblemished service to the nation and humanity in general, His Lordship was conferred with the Rank of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR), by His Excellency, Umaru Yar’Adua (of blessed memory) President and Commander in chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria on 22nd Day of December 2008.
His home state, Ondo state also found him worthy in character and attitude and bestowed on him “Ondo State Man Of The Year” for his enormous contribution to the development of the state in the year 2009.
In 2017, Hon. Justice Babatunde Adejumo OFR was conferred with the “Life Time Achievement award” at the Annual Dinner and Award Night of the Nigerian Bar Association, Uyo Branch. The award was presented by the AkwaIbom State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Godwin Abraham. Also in 2017, Hon Justice Babatunde Adejumo was nominated for the JUSTICE BUILDER award by the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group International. Today we could refer to Hon. Justice Babatunde Adejumo OFR as a role model, a man whom the society can looked up to, a man whose personality, character, humility, intelligence and determination is worthy of emulation.
Honourable Justice Adejumo, OFR is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Uk, and Nigeria. His Lordship has attended seminars, conferences, workshops and training in many countries of the world.
His Lorship, Hon. Justice Babatunde Adejumo OFR is also a Grand Fellow, Institute of Strategic Management; Fellow, Micheal Imodu Institute of Labour Studies; Fellow, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators; Fellow, Chartered of Institute of Arbitrators and Fellow, Institute of Administrators and Researchers Of Nigeria.
Hon. Justice Adejumo, OFR has many other awards and honours to his credit just to mention a few;
His Lordship is happily married and blessed with children.