The Nigeria Labour Congress has refuted claims by the Department of State Security that labour unions were plotting in cahoots with some governors, students, lecturers and others to carry out rallies like the #EndSARS protests to destabilise parts of the country, asking the secret police to stop scare alarms and re-channel its energy and resources to bringing to justice the enemies of public order and stability such as importers of adulterated petrol, petroleum marketers and filling station operators selling to black marketers, Punch reports.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who stated these in a statement in Abuja, on Monday, described the DSS’ allegation as unfortunate, saying it smacks of sheer mischief.
He argued that trade unions and national labour centres are independent organisations recognised by both national laws and international conventions with fundamental rights and liberties to associate, organise and undertake activities in the defence of workers’ rights and interests.
“By the provisions of our laws and in line with global industrial relations standards, no permission is required under the law for peaceful assembly of workers and citizens.
“In any case, as a responsible national labour centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress always informs the Department of State Services and indeed other security agencies of our activities especially when such are undertaken in the public space,” Wabba said.
According to him, in all its undertakings as trade unions and labour centres, the congress has never been found to be violent or complicit in encouraging acts of brigandage.
The congress further said trade unions exist to protect the interest of their members, noting that some of the socio-economic realities pointed out by the DSS in its statement such as the current strike action by university lecturers and the scarcity of refined petroleum products were legitimate concerns to the citizens.
Wabba said, “We do not need clandestine meetings with state governors, some of whom treat workers terribly, to ventilate our concerns on issues that affect Nigerian workers and people.
“Our pain as citizens, workers, students, traders and professionals becomes more excruciating with the knowledge that our ordeal and vicissitudes are all self-inflicted.
“We urge the security agencies that instead of investing in scare alarms, they should rather re-channel their energy and resources and help bring to justice the real enemies of public order and stability– importers of adulterated petrol, petroleum marketers and filling station operators who are busier in ungodly hours selling to black marketers, and dispense with only one pump or two in broad daylight thus subjecting citizens to harrowing petrol queues.”
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