By Sabiu Abdullahi
Organised labour, represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has declared a total nationwide strike, effective Tuesday, November 14, 2023, following an extraordinary National Executive Council meeting held in Abuja.
The decision stems from a review of the planned strike modalities in light of the recent brutalization of the NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, and the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Federal Government and labour centres on October 2, 2023, following the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which the unions claim has inflicted “untold hardship” on Nigerians.
The labour unions had issued a five-day ultimatum earlier, demanding the redeployment of the commissioner of police in Imo State, where Ajaero was arrested, and the arrest and prosecution of the government aide allegedly involved in the attack.
The unions threatened nationwide industrial action if their demands were not met within the stipulated timeframe.
Joe Ajaero was arrested by the police in Owerri, Imo State, ahead of a state-wide protest.
The police, asserting that Ajaero was taken into protective custody, denied allegations of an arrest, citing concerns about a potential mob attack.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, accused the labour leader of interfering in the state’s political affairs, further fueling tensions.
Prominent figures, including the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, and human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), have condemned the assault on Ajaero, calling for justice and an end to violence against labour leaders.
An official from the labour centres, speaking on condition of anonymity, disclosed that a press release detailing the strike’s specifics will be issued shortly.