By Vera E. Abah
THE NIGERIA Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Wednesday night gave reasons for suspending their one-day-old indefinite nationwide strike called to protest against the brutal attack on Comrade Joe Ajaero, NLC President, and other workers recently in Owerri, Imo State by alleged thugs under the alleged supervision of men of the Imo State Police Command.
NLC’s demands were made under the title: “OUR DEMANDS ARE SIMPLE – WE WANT JUSTICE”.
First, the NLC demanded that Chinasa Nwaneri, a special adviser to Imo State governor on special duties who allegedly led the attack on the NLC President and other workers in the state must be arrested and prosecuted.
Secondly, it demanded that all police officers involved in the attack on Comrade Ajaero must be arrested, prosecuted and dismissed.
Thirdly, the NLC demanded for the arrest and prosecution of all thugs that attacked Comrade Ajaero in Owerri.
Fourthly, it also demanded the arrest, prosecution and dismissal of the Chief Security Officer in Imo State Government House identified as SP Shaba, whom it alleged, “led, participated and provided cover for thugs to brutalise workers in Imo State.”
Fifthly, the NLC demanded “the arrest, persecution and dismissal of the police area commander that supervised the brutalisation of NLC President and other workers in the state.”
The sixth demand by the NLC was to investigate and prosecute the former Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Ahmed Barde, for his alleged involvement in the brutalisation of Comrade Ajaero.
Why we suspended strike, NLC, TUC
In a circular issued late Wednesday night after an extraordinary Joint National Executive Council meeting convened following an earlier meeting with the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, in Abuja, to all their affiliates and state councils of the NLC and TUC, the two central labour organisations said the suspension became necessary following “a thorough review of the offers presented by the federal government through the National Security Adviser…”
According to the centres, the “suspension is intended to facilitate further discussion after the federal government had met our crucial demands to address the distressing abduction and brutalisation of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and others.”
The circular reads in full:
“15th of November, 2023
1. All Affiliates
2. All States Councils
“SUSPENSION OF INDEFINITE NATIONWIDE STRIKE
“Sequel to the emergency joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the NLC and TUC today, the 15th day of November, 2023 in which a thorough review of the offers presented by the federal government through the National Security Adviser during its earlier meeting with the leadership of both centres was made, a resolution was reached to suspend the ongoing nationwide strike, which commenced on the 14th November, 2023.
“This suspension is intended to facilitate further discussion after the federal government had met our crucial demands to address the distressing abduction and brutalisation of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and others. These incidents occurred at the hands of the Police and Governor Hope Uzodinma’s thugs in Owerri, Imo State, on the 1st day of November, 2023.
“An apology was tendered on behalf of the government by the NSA, who promised to coordinate the investigation. Some of the perpetrators have been arrested, and we were given assurances that all others will be fished out and prosecuted.
“High-powered investigation is currently being carried out and the leadership of the labour centres will be briefed continuously as progress is being made.
“We extend our commendation and salute to all affiliates and state councils for their unwavering commitment and tenacity, which contributed to the success of the nationwide strike.
“Therefore, all affiliates and state councils of both the NLC and TUC are hereby directed to mobilise, cease and further escalation of the indefinite strike action, and fully resume work, Thursday, the 16th day of November, 2023.
“Once again, we convey our appreciation for your cooperation, resilience, and determination in ensuring the success of the indefinite nationwide strike. We encourage you to remain vigilant as we await the fulfilment of the remaining agreements.
“Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja Esq. mni Comrade Nuhu Toro
“General Secretary, NLC Secretary General, TUC”