Nigeria: The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) refutes the unfounded accusations by the Department of State Services (DSS) and clearly expresses its concerns

Keywords : Newsletters Declarations Human and trade union rights Nigeria

The subversive intentions attributed by the Nigerian DSS to lump together trade unions and criminal groups have been exposed. In a statement, the NLC has refuted this most unfortunate attempt by the DSS to associate it with criminal activities.
In fact, the NLC has vehemently repudiated this cleverly orchestrated attempt by the DSS to lump together trade unions and some [criminal] groups that are allegedly in the business of disrupting law and order, unleashing violence on the streets and destabilizing the country.

The NLC has never called on its members to instigate public disorder
The intentions of causing a disturbance of law and order that have been attributed to trade unions, including the NLC, are disgraceful; [ in fact, these intentions are perfectly shameful and indecent] insinuations from [the benches of] the DSS. These accusations are false [and unwarranted], since trade unions are independent and recognized organizations that operate according to both national laws and international conventions that guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms of workers to associate, organize and defend their rights and interests.

In defence of their position, the NLC vehemently recalls that under the provisions of labour legislation and in accordance with international industrial relations standards, no permission is required for a peaceful assembly of workers and citizens. However, as a responsible national trade union centre, the NLC always makes sure that the DSS and other security agencies are informed of its activities, especially if they are carried out in public spaces.
"In all our undertakings as a trade union centre, we have never been accused of being violent or accomplices in inciting acts of brigandage. It is therefore surprising that the DSS suddenly decides to lump together trade unions and organizations with subversive intentions," reads the statement from the NLC.

The NLC is only in the business of protecting the interests of its members
In keeping with its logic of refuting and permanently put to rest these disgraceful accusations by the DSS, the NLC is keen to point out that unions exist to protect the interests of their members.
" People have the right to draw the attention of the government to their plight through petitions, peaceful demonstrations and other advocacy initiatives. Making statements that appear to frighten the citizenry from exercising their rights to peacefully engage their government is highly disrespectful to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our democratic order," said Comrade Ayuba Wabba, President of the NLC.

He further indicated that the NLC has already denounced and condemned the current paralysis of academic activities in universities which, in his opinion, is the consequence of the non-fulfilment of the commitments made by the government in the collective bargaining agreements with the university professors. The NLC is also deeply concerned about repeated failures in recent weeks of the national electricity grid that have plunged most part of the country into a total blackout. He further expressed concern over the continuous issuance of billing estimates by DISCO, which is increasing the suffering of Nigeria’s electricity consumers. He stressed that the NLC was right to protest the neglect of critical power assets and anti-people power policies in the past.

NLC Calls for Prosecution of Perpetrators of Financial Embezzlement
Above all, the NLC reiterates that it is not interested in clandestine meetings with State Governors, including those who give terrible treatment to workers, to express its concerns on issues that affect workers and the people of Nigeria. The NLC is politely urging the security agencies to redirect their energies and resources to tracking down real enemies of law and order and stability, including perpetrators of financial embezzlement, instead of investing in scaremongering.

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