FG Declares That the Proposed Nationwide Strike by NLC Is Illegal
The federal government has criticized the Nigeria Labour Congress’ planned march in support of the university-based union members who are on strike as being unlawful.
The National Labor Congress (NLC) had announced on Sunday, July 17, that it would launch a nationwide protest on July 26 and 27 to put pressure on the federal government to end the strike, which has been going on for five months with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and three other sister unions.
After the Federal Executive Council meeting, which was presided over by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, claimed the planned street protest is unlawful because the NLC does not now have a disagreement with the government.
Mohammed charges political interests with driving the congress and urges it to “isolate itself fully from politics.”
A political party is not the NLC. If the rights of NLC members are at stake, the NLC has the right to strike or demonstrate. Interest is at the center of everything the NLC has planned for the following two days, he said.
“There is absolutely no disagreement between the NLC as an organization and the federal government. Yes, there is a conflict between some NLC members, ASUU, and the federal government that is currently being investigated. Additionally, NLC is a participant in the committee studying the issue. As a result of NLC calling for a public protest, you start to ask why they are doing this.
“However, as you can see, we don’t question what NLC is doing. Even the distribution of leaflets is prohibited by NLC’s own laws. Additionally, NLC is meant to be totally free of politics. Now, you may go on strike if you declare a conflict with us. Even that would depend on whether or not specific actions were taken. However, this specific NLC is obviously doing nothing by urging people to go on strike on July 26 and 27.
Although everyone including the NLC are concerned, the law remains the law. As an umbrella organization, the NLC should seek answers and work with the federal government to do so.
They are a member of the tripartite committee that has been in talks with the federal government on the ASUU problem. Why then are they choosing sides now?
“I believe you should question it yourself as well. I agree that it is popular to support and mobilize the NLC, but how exactly does that solve the issue? How does that address the issue? You’re only going to increase anarchy. Additionally, I believe the NLC should reconsider their plan to strike in support of ASUU.
The minister continued by saying that the federal government is not “doing nothing” in response to the strike.