The Presidency has condemned the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a nationwide strike action from midnight, despite a court order restraining them from doing so.
In a press statement issued on Monday by Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, the Presidency described the strike action as “an ego tripping move” and “an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC”.
The Presidency also accused the NLC and TUC of punishing the country over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, who was allegedly assaulted in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.
“While the Federal government does not condone any form of violence and assault on any citizen of Nigeria regardless of his or her social and economic status, it is on record that the Inspector General of Police has ordered investigation into what happened to Mr. Ajaero while the Commissioner of Police in Imo State under whose watch the incident happened has been transferred out of the state”, the statement read.
The Presidency further stated that calling out workers on a national strike over a personal issue of a labour leader despite a clear court order against any industrial action amounts to an abuse of privilege and power.
“Calling out workers on a national strike over a personal issue of a labour leader despite a clear court order against any industrial action amounts to an abuse of privilege. Power at any level should never be used to settle personal scores. Rather, it should be used to promote collective progress and advance national interest.
“Our national economy and social activities should not suffer because of the personal interest of any labour leader.
“This flagrant disobedience to court order and lack of respect for the judiciary should not be what the organised Labour would champion. The labour movement has always been a champion of rule of law and respect for the judiciary. It is a sad irony that the current labour leaders have shown disdain and utter disregard for court order”, the statement added.
The Presidency reiterated that the strike action is illegal, immoral, unjustifiable and irresponsible, and suggested that it is designed for a sinister and hidden agenda to cause undue hardship and civil disturbance in the country.
The NLC and TUC had issued a strike notice on Monday night after the alleged beating of Ajaero in Imo State. The labour unions asked security operatives to fish out perpetrators of the act.
The strike action is expected to paralyse economic and social activities across the country.