Many Nigerians think the Thursday morning protest by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja belittles the unions.
The Unions had said the protest was called to enforce their directive to aviation workers to stop all flights to Owerri, Imo State.
The protest was part of a series of actions the unions have promised to take against Imo State following an attack on NLC President Joe Ajaero. The unions have also declared a nationwide strike starting on Tuesday, November 14.
The workers marched to the airport in a convoy and blocked both the entry and exit gates. They attempted to enter the airport but were stopped by the military. In response, the protesters blocked the roads leading to the airport, causing heavy traffic and forcing travellers to walk to the airport entrance.
The protest highlights the growing tensions between the unions and the Imo State government.
Some Nigerians hold that the latest protest action trivialises strike as a tool of pressure and should not be employed this way.
Richard Akinnola, a human rights lawyer said even though he condemned the brutalisation of Joe Ajaero, the NLC president in Imo declaring a nationwide strike on that bases is a far cry.
“However by declaring a national strike over that assault is stretching your luck too far. You have trivialized strike as a tool that nobody takes you serious again. You have demystified yourself and the potency of strike. So, you mean workers in Maiduguri would go on strike because of what happened in imo? You people mean employers who have no trade dispute with their workers would shut down in this struggling economy and you expect them to pay the workers? When you abuse the power of strike, it loses its potency. You guys must be joking,” he wrote on Facebook.
Another commentator described the unions as child’s play.
“This protest has nothing to do with workers welfare. This protest is simply against Gov. Uzodinma reelection,” he said.
“This is the type of madness that should not be condoned in any sane society, how can a union block access to government infrastructure or facilities? Who are they fighting for, same people they deny access to these facilities? Imagine the number of meetings that will be canceled , I mean productive meetings that will stimulate economic growth and development,” @DipoSpeaks said on X.
“How is NLC shutting down Abuja for an incident that happened in Imo? Nigerians shout about rule of law but just love dictatorships that they like,” @Ufuoma said on X
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