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FG declares NLC’s proposed ASUU solidarity protest illegal

FG declares NLC’s proposed ASUU solidarity protest illegal

The federal government on Wednesday, declared the planned street protest in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), other institutions including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Aviation operators, as “illegal”.

The NLC announced that it would embark on a nationwide protest on July 26 and 27 to press home the need to resolve the over five-month-old strike, especially by ASUU.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, said since the NLC has no dispute with the government, its planned street protest is illegal.

The minister observed that what the congress is doing is about interest, noting that it should insulate itself completely from politics.

According to Mohammed, NLC should join the federal government to find solutions to the impasse, adding that “the federal government, like the NLC is equally worried about the lingering ASUU strike”.

“I’m naturally concerned about this if the aviation union will shut down in support of ASUU. I would say they have no need to. I will say also that we should begin to look at civil aviation as a critical national security enterprise.”

Mohammed said the proposed solidarity strike has all the implications for the country and advised the organisations to consider the implementations

“They should think about an aviation disaster. We should also think about the general activity of the economy of Nigeria without civilization.

“This is democracy, you can push for demands, but in pressing for demands you should be reasonable in doing so. Where, the life that you’re trying to promote, would be seriously affected and hampered. Where lives can be lost because of your own activity. I think it should be reconsidered.

“So, civil aviation workers, I think should not be part of this. Yes, I am concerned and yes we’ve spoken to them and I don’t think they will join because they know that there’s a huge responsibility for lives on their heads.

Read also: ASUU strike: NLC embarks on nat’l protest July 26, 27

“If you’re an air traffic controller, it involves national security. It involves the capability of preventing external aggression and so on and so forth. I believe that they are very aware of the enormous responsibility upon them in civil aviation and they should continue to see it so and continue to be as law-abiding as we want them to be,” the minister said.

The Minister however assured that government has ongoing conversations with the relevant organizations to health the solidarity strikes.

“So in civil aviation, we speak to them almost on a daily basis. They are part of us. They are workers like every other person is. And we interact with them. In the ministry, we have their own representatives who speak to me time and again, probably on daily basis,” he said.

Mohammed, while noting that the NLC is not a political party, added that “ the NLC can go on strike or protest if the rights of NLC members are involved.

“What the NLC is planning in the next two days is about interest. There’s no dispute whatsoever between NLC as a body with the federal government.
Well yes, that’s a dispute between some members of NLC, ASUU whatever and the federal government which is being looked into,” Mohammed said.

He revealed that the NLC itself is a party to the committee that is looking into the solution, adding that “ Calling out people on street protest you begin to wonder, what is the motive of NLC in this matter? But you see here, we do not interrogate what NLC is doing.

“ The NLC by its own laws, cannot even give out pamphlets. And NLC is supposed to be completely insulated from politics.

Now, if you declare a dispute with us, yes you can go on strike. Even that one would depend on whether certain steps have been taken or not. But this particular NLC, you know, asking and mobilizing people to come out on strike on July 26 and 27, is clearly on nothing.