In a recent turn of events, the Nigerian Presidency has taken a firm stance against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for their decision to embark on a nationwide strike scheduled to commence from midnight on November 13, 2023.
This move by the labor unions has been described by the Presidency as an “ego-tripping move” and an act of unwarranted blackmail against the government.
The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, issued a strongly-worded statement on Monday night, asserting that the decision to call for a national strike over an individual issue violates a subsisting court order and amounts to an abuse of privilege by the labor leadership.
One of the primary issues that led to this confrontation is the assault on the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.
Onanuga emphasized the government’s commitment to investigating this incident, but he also underlined the importance of not using power at any level to settle personal scores.
He stressed that power should be wielded to promote collective progress and national interest.
The Presidential aide criticized the labor leaders for what he perceived as a disregard for the judiciary and a departure from the traditional championing of the rule of law by the labor movement.
He stated, “We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200 million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgment led to an assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.”
The government pointed out that the Inspector General of Police had ordered an investigation into the assault on Mr. Ajaero, and the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, where the incident occurred, has been transferred out of the state.
The Presidency firmly stated that calling workers to a national strike over a personal issue of a labor leader, in clear defiance of a court order, amounts to an abuse of privilege.
They stressed that the national economy and social activities should not suffer due to the personal interests of any labor leader.
Furthermore, the government expressed its disappointment in the labor movement for failing to uphold the rule of law and respect for the judiciary, which have been its historical pillars.
They reiterated that the strike action is deemed illegal, immoral, unjustifiable, and irresponsible.
The statement issued by the Presidency suggests that this strike notice might be designed for a sinister and hidden agenda, aiming to cause undue hardship and civil disturbance in the country, and it is deemed unacceptable.
As this standoff continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how both the government and the labor unions will navigate the delicate balance between the interests of workers and the stability of the nation.
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