In response to the announcement by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to initiate a nationwide strike in protest of the assault on NLC President Joe Ajaero, the Presidency has strongly criticized the move, considering it unwarranted and an alleged attempt to manipulate the government.
Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, conveyed the government’s stance in a statement on Monday, expressing bewilderment at the decision to impact the entire nation of over 200 million people over a matter involving the NLC President on a personal level.
The unions had declared their intention to commence the strike on November 14 to protest the brutalization of Mr. Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the previous week. Mr. Onanuga emphasized that while the government condemns violence against any Nigerian, an investigation into the matter has been ordered by the Inspector General of Police, Kaode Egbetokun. He also noted the transfer of the Commissioner of Police in Imo State under whose watch the incident occurred.
In the statement, Mr. Onanuga criticized the unions for calling a national strike over a personal issue, citing a court order against any industrial action. He argued that using power to settle personal scores is an abuse of privilege, emphasizing that authority should be utilized to foster collective progress and advance national interest.
Labeling the planned strike as immoral, unjustifiable, and irresponsible, Mr. Onanuga urged the unions to reconsider their decision. In a similar vein, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) advised the unions against the strike, emphasizing the importance of respecting the existing court order restraining them from embarking on the planned industrial action.