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FG warns NLC against disobeying court order, says planned strike ‘abuse of privilege’

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The Federal Government has warned leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to obey court order on industrial action or be ready to contend with the consequences of disobeying legal orders.

The organised labour had threatened to commence strike Tuesday (today). Recall that the NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, was attacked by suspected thugs last week in Owerri, Imo State, aftermath of which provoked the call for strike.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, stated that the Federal Government noticed with dismay the decision by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress to call out workers to commence a strike action from midnight, despite a restraining order issued last week by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court.

It stated, “We notice with dismay the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to call out workers to commence a strike action from midnight, despite a restraining order issued last week by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court.

“This decision by the NLC and TUC other than being an ego tripping move is clearly unwarranted. It is an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC. We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200 million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgment led to assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.’’

It added that while the Federal Government wouldn’t condone any form of violence and assault on any citizen of Nigeria regardless of his or her social and economic status, it was on record that the Inspector General of Police had ordered an investigation into what happened to Mr Ajaero while the Commissioner of Police in Imo State under whose watch the incident happened had been transferred out of the state.

The statement added, “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 Federal Government reiterated that the strike action was illegal, immoral, unjustifiable and irresponsible, stating that what the strike notice issued Monday night after official hours suggested was that it’s designed for a sinister and hidden agenda to cause undue hardship and cause civil disturbance in our country.’’

“This is unacceptable,’’ it said.

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