The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba has warned the federal government to expect a nationwide strike if demands by the Academic Staff Union of Universities are not met after the ongoing two-day warning protest.
Wabba said that the workers’ union will embark on a three-day nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to accede to the demands of the
Wabba, who spoke in an interview with Channels TV ‘Sunrise Daily’, also stated that the workers’ union embarked on a two-day protest against the ongoing ASUU strike not just as a show of solidarity, but because the strike directly affected the NLC.
He said, “The two-day warning strike is to call for attention for the issues to be resolved promptly. The next level is a three-day national warning strike if nothing has happened after the protest, to show our grievances.
“We are not on a solidarity action, we are affected directly.”
The NLC had organised the two-day protest after a series of failed negotiations between the FG and ASUU to resolve the strike action.
Wabba, who stated that the ongoing protest was a democratic norm which was constitutional and supported by the international charters, added that it was not illegal to carry out such demonstration on the streets.
He said, “These are democratic norms everywhere in the world. Even as an individual, you have the right to air your grievances.
“It is within the provision of our law. It is backed by the United Nations charter for human and peoples rights, African charter for human and peoples rights, and it is there in our constitution — sections 39 and 40.”
Since plans for the ongoing protest was announced by the NLC, the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, had alleged that the protest was illegal and would create anarchy in the country.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had also taunted the workers’ union, claiming erroneously that the protest was against international labour practices.
The Nigeria Police Force had also in its bid to defend the regime, demanded that the NLC should get a permit from the Force before embarking on the two-day warning-protest.
Responding to the claims by the authorities, Wabba said the court of law had pronounced that citizens did not need permission from the police or any authority to carry out protests.
He said, “Even the court has pronounced that you don’t require any permission. It is legal and within your fundamental human rights to protest issues.
“When people say it’s illegal, I think people should remember that no condition is permanent. We have had some of our current politicians join the NLC to press for similar actions in the past.”