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Police react to NLC, TUC strike

…CACOL fumes

CITIZENS COMPASS –The Nigeria Police Force has called on organised labour to adhere to the existing laws governing industrial action activities in the country.

This was in response to the total compliance with the nationwide industrial action which commenced on Monday.
The Police in a statement signed by the Force Spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the industrial action calls for caution to prevent a breakdown of law and order within the country.

“The Nigeria Police Force, while acknowledging the recent announcement by organized labour regarding the intention to embark on nationwide strike action and understanding the right of organized labour to engage in such actions to advocate for the interests of all workers, wishes to emphasize the importance of adherence to the existing laws governing such activities; and calls for caution to prevent a breakdown of law and order within the country.

“In light of the Federal Government’s recent declaration that the planned strike is illegal and premature, the Nigeria Police Force views this action as a potential catalyst for increased tension and political instability.

“The NPF hereby urges organized labour to proceed with the ongoing deliberations at the Tripartite Committee, which is focused on determining a new minimum wage, and shelve the planned strike as such decision is essential to prevent untold hardships on members of the public and maintain order and stability within our country.

“The Nigeria Police Force assures the public that ample deployments have been made across the country to ensure that citizens can go about their lawful duties without hindrance. Therefore, all members of the public are encouraged to remain calm and continue with their lawful daily activities, while organized labour is urged to act responsibly and by the law, prioritizing dialogue and legal avenues to resolving the existing grievances.”

Meanwhile, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has berated the statement credited to the Nigeria Police urging Nigerians to disregard the industrial action called by the Organised labour.

In a statement, issued by the Director of Administration and Programmes of the anti-graft organization, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of the Chairman, Debo Adeniran, noted, “It would be recalled that the organized labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has announced the commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike starting Monday, June 3rd, 2024. The action comes as a direct response to the unfruitful negotiations with the government over the proposed minimum wage and the recent controversial increase in electricity tariffs.

“The negotiations finally collapsed after a failed 7th attempt by the 37 members’ tripartite committee to reach a definite new minimum wage figure for Nigerian workers with the organized labour expressing frustration over the government’s lack of commitment and representation at the negotiation meeting.

“We at CACOL are appalled by the Nigerian Police’s recent press release urging Nigerians to disregard the strike action called by the NLC, starting today, June 3rd, 2024. This statement is a blatant attempt to suppress the constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens and undermine the democratic process.

“We would like to remind the Police that the right to strike is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the constitution and international labour laws. In as much as the NLC remains committed to fighting for the welfare and interests of Nigerian workers and the general public, the Police have no authority to dictate how citizens choose to exercise their democratic rights, including the right to peaceful protest and strike action.

“The CACOL boss further stated that “We believe that if Nigerian workers are paid a “living wage”, it would translate into better living conditions for millions of Nigerian families, and could also help to reduce corruption among civil servants in the country thereby ensuring greater prosperity for all and aiding the growth and development of the economy of the country. Increment in the minimum wage would also boost the morale of Nigerian workers and could also lead to enhanced and greater productivity among the workforce.”

“We urge Nigerians to ignore the Police’s intimidatory tactics and exercise their constitutional rights without fear. We call on the Police to respect the rule of law and the democratic rights of citizens, rather than attempting to silence and intimidate them.”

Similarly, a human rights activist, Comrade Israel Joe, also kicked against the statement credited to the Police.
In a statement titled, *The Nigeria Police Force has no right by law to issue directives to organised labour, he said, “About Three Hours Ago, the Nigeria Police Force issued a Press Release, directing workers to go about their normal daily activities as their men have been deployed to ensure their safety to forestall any likely breakdown of law and order.

“It is important to announce to the police that there is a difference between a protest and a strike action. Where a protest connotes a mass peaceful movement to dramatise dissatisfaction, a strike action means silent withdrawal from work/services or staying at home.
“You cannot force anyone from their house to go to work, and I dare the Nigeria Police Force to state where it derives its powers to give orders to Nigeria workers. “The Nigeria Police Force should also define to the public the meaning of following legal procedures as stated in their Press Release.

“I don’t know when the Police descend so low to interfere with issues that concern labour/strike actions to the extent of releasing such a distasteful and disgraceful press release.

“I would rather advise the Inspector General of Police and the police authorities to either be on the side of the people for the sake of posterity than being coerced into the unpardonable sentiment of selfish operations. Nigeria workers should, therefore, ignore such press releases and stand by the dictates of organised labour.”

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