We Called Off Strike Over Intimidation Threat — NLC President, Ajaero Speaks

February 29, 2024
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NLC

Yesterday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) accused the Federal Government of attempting to weaken it through divide-and-rule tactics. The NLC stated that the decision to call off the two-day protest was influenced by threats and intimidation.

It also 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

The leadership of the Labour centre equally  vowed not to 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.

President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, who disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at a briefing to update Nigerians at Labour House, Abuja, maintained that the leadership of NLC would only attend meetings with the government officials when actions had not been declared.

He said: “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.

“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…”

Recall that a few hours before the commencement of the two day protest, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, invited the leadership of the Congress to a meeting that lasted till late  night in a bid to scuttle the rally

Ajaero described the February 26 night meeting as an “obsolete strategy” adopted by the federal government to delay, demobilise and demoralise aggrieved protesters nationwide.

The labour leader, while responding to enquiry, said:  “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 yesterday (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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