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Proposed solidarity protest over ASUU: FG unsettled, accuses NLC of partisanship, brewing anarchy

Plans by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on a two-day solidarity protest in support of the Academic Staff Union of Universities...

Plans by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on a two-day solidarity protest in support of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other university-based unions are already sending shock waves to the Federal Government, prompting it to caution the apex labour union against breaching law and order in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the allegations on Wednesday, shortly after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, also roped in the political angle, insisting that NLC being owners of the Labour Party had no justification to mobilise other unions against the government of the day.

According to the Minister, the planned solidarity strike is unlawful considering that the NLC has no dispute with the federal government.

Lai in his presentation to State House Correspondents pointed out that taking such steps in support of an affiliate union would amount to an attempt to instigate anarchy in the country.

The Minister also observed that what the Congress is planning to do is about interest, noting that it should insulate itself completely from politics.

The NLC had 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 by ASUU.

Lai said, “While we’re still in Labour, I think we should also start to interrogate what labour is doing. The NLC is not a political party. 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. And NLC itself it’s a party to the committee that is looking into the solution. So calling out people on street protests 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. 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”.

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