The organized labour has raised the alarm over what it described as the emerging culture of state violence and impunity by the President Bola Tinubu administration, claiming that the ongoing protest by the labour centres was an attempt to nip it in the bud.
The Organised labour said that the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, are using the ongoing strike to fight what it described as serial acts of violence/assault and impunity committed against individuals and organisations by the Nigeria Police or under their watchful supervision.
Citing the brutalization of the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo state capital on November 1 and the forceful seizure of the offices of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, labour maintained that the strike among other things is a protest against the brewing reprehensible impunity that is fast becoming the signature of the government.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the NLC head of information and public affairs, Benson Upah, faulted the claims in some quarters that the brutality meted out to Comrade Ajaero was a result of a private misunderstanding between him (Ajaero) and the Imo state government.
The statement read: “We would want Nigerians to not lend themselves to the “private matter” narrative being promoted by agents of government as it is intended to divert attention from the real issues.
“Even as no freedom can be greater than the personal liberty of an individual in a popular democracy, which was violently and viciously violated in Imo, what the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria are fighting through this strike action are serial acts of violence/assault and impunity committed against individuals and organisations by the Nigeria Police Force or under their watchful eye or supervision.
“We make haste to cite three instances here even as there are several others within the brief life of this government.
“We recall the despicable role of the police in the forceful seizure of the offices of NURTW, RTEAN and NUPENG.
“This strike among other things, is a protest against this reprehensible impunity which is fast becoming the signature of this government.
“The arrest, beating and torture of Comrade Joe Ajaero represents the raising of the stakes in this culture of harassment and intimidation and we have no apology for resisting this through a strike.
“For those not in the know, tyranny begins with the loss of personal liberty through the negative deployment of state power through its agents.
“Critics of labour unions forget that they could be the next victims tomorrow.
“Finally, we demand that the government of President Bola Tinubu nip in the bud this burgeoning culture of harassment, intimidation, violence and terror!
“We will not back down until we secure a commitment from the government to govern by the prescribed laws of the land.
“We are clear about our objectives and we do not need approval ratings from agents of government passing themselves off as our friends.
“The gradual closing of democratic space is a clear and present danger or tendency we can ill afford to ignore.”