NLC Accuses Tinubu’s Govt Of Threats, Intimidation

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NLC President, Joe Ajaero

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has accused the federal government of threatening and intimidating the union’s leadership over the just suspended strike action.

The Herald reports that the NLC president, Joe Ajaero, had suspended the two-day nationwide strike on Wednesday evening over what he described as an “overwhelming success” on the first day.

Ajaero also listed fresh demands and issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Bola Tinubu-led government over the increasing economic hardship in the country.

But addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, Ajaero accused the government of plotting to undermine the union’s effort through divide-and-rule tactics, saying the two-day protest was called off because of threats and intimidation.

Ajaero further expressed concern that its headquarters as well as state offices nationwide had been militarised by the federal government, insisting members of the congress won’t be cowed by any threat.

Ajaero noted that Labour would no longer honour any invitation from the federal government to attend any night meeting, ahead of any of its declared nationwide mass actions, saying it was a strategy to hoodwink them.

He maintained that the leadership of NLC would only attend meetings with the government officials when actions had not been declared.

“Each time they invite us for meetings, we will attend and listen to them because if we don’t attend, they will blackmail us. You are aware that they held a meeting with us till late on Sunday. While that meeting was on, they wrote letters to all the unions to undermine us,” Ajaero said.

“You’re meeting with the leadership of the NLC, and you’re still inviting every union in the country to undermine us. Even at that meeting, where I was talking, they wanted two of my deputies to be talking, so that we don’t have leaders, but we survived all that.

“There is nothing on earth they have not done to subvert the NLC. Nothing! And we’re still waxing stronger. So, if they invite us for a meeting, we will still go and listen because we have our views, we have our positions, and we will still gently present our positions. We won’t say we’re not going except when we realise that…”

The labour leader continued: “Henceforth, the NLC will no longer be comfortable attending meetings on the eve of any action. Never again! It was a waste of time, waste of energy and nothing comes from such meetings.

“It was to delay us, to demobilise us, and to make people have the impression that we went there to discuss other issues, apart from the issues on ground. This is our new resolve.

“You (FG) can no longer call us for a meeting when we have action tomorrow or next tomorrow, and you delay us till 11pm, 12am in the night, so that we won’t come out to mobilise for action. Such a strategy is obsolete. I think they should adopt new strategies.”

Ajaero, who was flanked by renowned activist, Femi Aborisade, and other labour leaders, also alleged that government officials had on different occasions, tried divide-and-rule tactics to subvert NLC, including sending some boys out to do a counter-protest on Tuesday.

He also said the government was fond of breaching agreements and laws of the land, and that one of the examples was non-functioning of Port Harcourt refinery which was announced would begin operation last December.

“I was there when President Tinubu asked the Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lokpobiri, about when the refinery would work. As we’re talking, no drop of fuel or PMS has dropped from that refinery! They should stop lying to people,” Ajaero said.

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