NLC protests, describes development as new unacceptable low
National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) have condemned the arrest and brutalisation of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State, warning against the derailment of democracy in the country.
The textiles workers, in Kaduna, yesterday, condemned “the unwarranted and unprovoked attack, abduction and near murder of Ajaero” by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and thugs allegedly working with the Imo government, on Wednesday.
President of NUTGTWN, John Adaji, said the mayhem was unleashed on the workers and the NLC president while on “peaceful protest against the violation of the rights of Imo workers by the state government.
He said: “We are particularly disturbed that this uncivilised action by the Imo governor and the police is taking place in a democracy, which the organised labour fought for, not military dictatorship.
“We reaffirm that workers under the Nigerian Constitution, African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions particularly conventions 87 and 98 on the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining have the right to organise and engage in collective bargaining and social dialogue. It is, therefore, strange that Governor Hope Uzodimma will repudiate agreement in respect of payment of salaries and pensions reached in 2021.”
NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman, stated: “We are appalled at the treatment meted out to the NLC president by sponsored thugs and the police.
“We are equally full of consternation by the Gestapo manner in which Ajaero was battered and subsequently whisked away. Obviously, the police and other state actors have learned nothing from our nascent democracy, which presupposes that conduct of such agents of state should be civil and that citizens have a right to peaceful assembly and protests.”
Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) also condemned the and dastardly act. In a statement, yesterday, Secretary General of NUR, Segun Esan, noted that gathering by the workers to peacefully protest against acts of injustice is a legitimate right that does not contravene any known law, especially when all due diligence had been fulfilled in terms of informing security agencies and other relevant stakeholders.
ALSO, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has condemned the attack on Ajaero and other workers in Imo on Wednesday. National Publicity Secretary of the union, Abdullahi Yalwa, in a statement, yesterday, expressed shock at reports of attacks on unarmed workers and the NLC leadership in Imo.
“It is ironic that Imo is one of the states involved in the off-cycle governorship elections in the country scheduled for November 11, 2023. It is depressing to read reports of the active involvement of functionaries of the state government, as well as reports of complicity of the Imo police command in this show of shame.”
This, indeed, marks a new low in industrial relations in the country and is reminiscent of the years of totalitarianism during different regimes of military dictatorship in the country.”