On Tuesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) responded to the presidency’s accusation that the strike is an attempt to blackmail the Federal Government.
In light of the brutality suffered by NLC President Joe Ajaero in Imo State, a strike was planned for today and announced jointly by the NLC and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
In addition, organized labor was prohibited from starting their planned strike on November 14 by a restraining order obtained by the National Industrial Court in Owerri, the capital of Imo.
The federal government was also successful in getting a court order preventing the unions and their allies from beginning the strike.
Despite the court decision, the unions said on Monday that they would proceed with their scheduled industrial action. TUC President Festus Osifo made the announcement.
In response, presidential advisor Bayo Onanuga called the unions’ decision to go on strike “an ego-tripping move” and “clearly unwarranted.”
Attempting to “blackmail the government” and “punish a whole country of over 200 million people over a personal matter,” he said the unions were
Information According to reports from Nigeria, numerous government buildings complied partially with the strike on Tuesday.
The NLC’s communications chief, Benson Upah, also denied that the strike declaration was an attempt to “blackmail” the government.
Upah added that Union has no motive to “blackmail” the government and that the strike is not a “personal matter” as “mischievously” asserted by Onanuga.
“Blackmail the government over what?” A favor that organized labor requested but did not receive, a bribe, or what?” Upah asked.
This government should remain grateful to organized labor for its uncommon patience with a government that clearly was not prepared for the consequences of its fundamentalist market policies of massive currency devaluation and subsidy removal, which imposed on Nigerians social violence, upheaval, dislocation, displacement, or punishment they had never before experienced. If Onanuga was not suffering from selective amnesia, he should have known this.
“Onanuga, similarly, ought to have recognized that organized labor, by not opting for a strike as a first option, acted as a bulwark against the fury of Nigerians and saved this government from itself.
As he continued, “Organised Labour is not unaware of the misdirected anger of Nigerians for not going for the jugular of this government for justifiable reasons: inflation moved from 19% to 29%; exchange rate from N400 to N1,300; and pump price of PMS from N187 to N700, in the first five months of this government!”
The NLC spokesperson further condemned the police’s investigation of the incident that happened to the president of the congress in Imo when the federal government had “already found Ajaero guilty.”
The police will now play the roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, and jailer in their own cases. What a country we run! Onanuga’s admission that the government has already found Ajaero guilty, detained him, convicted him, and tortured him for “planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike” raises the question of what exactly the police will be looking into.
We fear that Nigerians have lost interest in the whole act. We require a fair and comprehensive inquiry conducted by outside and internal experts (with no restrictions on their access to data, witnesses, or other resources). He said, “Comrade Joe Ajaero is an international officeholder.”