The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have jointly called for an extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting. This decision comes in the wake of the brutalization of NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, as the labour unions gear up for a possible nationwide strike.
Tommy Etim, the National Vice-President of the TUC, revealed this development during an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday afternoon. The primary purpose of the meeting, as stated by Etim, is to reassess the plans for the impending strike and to scrutinize the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked between the Federal Government and the Organized Labour on October 2, 2023. The MOU came into effect following the removal of fuel subsidy, resulting in significant hardships for Nigerians.
Etim elaborated, saying, “We will be holding an extraordinary NEC meeting any moment from now. The agenda includes the injustices suffered by Comrade Ajaero, the impending strike, and the MOU with the Federal Government. Further details will be disclosed post-meeting.”
Recall that last Friday, the organized labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, issued a five-day ultimatum. This ultimatum came in response to the arrest of NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, by the police in Owerri, Imo State. The labour unions’ demands include the redeployment of the state’s Commissioner of Police and the apprehension and prosecution of the government aide implicated in the attack.
Should these demands not be met within five days, the labour unions have threatened to initiate a nationwide industrial action.
It is worth noting that Ajaero’s arrest by the police took place just ahead of a state-wide protest in Imo on Wednesday. The Head of Information at NLC, Benson Upah, confirmed this incident. Contrary to the police’s claim that Ajaero was taken into protective custody to prevent a mob attack, the labour leader’s arrest sparked outrage.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, accused Ajaero of interfering in the state’s political affairs, further intensifying the controversy. Several prominent Nigerians and civil society organizations, including the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, and human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), have decried the assault on the labour leader.