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Imo Crisis: Labour leaders order shutdown of flights and electricity, plan nationwide strike November 14

*The leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have ordered an immediate shutdown of flights and power supply in South-Eastern state, while preparing for a total nationwide strike, effective from Tuesday, November 14, 2023, over stated pressing Labour matters

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following the recent physical attack on Mr. Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Owerri, Imo State capital, the leadership of NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have ordered an immediate shutdown of flights and power supply in South-Eastern state of the country.

The leadership of the two union reached the resolution after an extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Abuja, FCT.

The Labour leaders, in a communique issued after the meeting and signed by Festus Osifo, President of  TUC; Adewale Adeyanju, Deputy President of NLC, also declared a total nationwide strike, effective from Tuesday, November 14 this year.

The Organised Labour had contended that the current protest against the Imo State Government was borne out of the recent attack on Ajaero while rallying workers in the state.

The NLC and TUC leaders equally, accused the Governor Hope Uzodimma administration of non-compliance with National Minimum Wage, intimidation and harassment of trade union leaders, use of violence and thuggery, refusal to implement previous agreements, outstanding salary arrears, vandalisation of NLC state secretariat, and implementation of discriminatory pay, among others.

The two major Labour unions said at the NEC meeting, in Abuja, that the proposed nationwide mobilisation of members and allies had begun immediately.

Imo Government has no hand in brutalisation of NLC leader -Gov. Uzodimma

In reaction to alleged involvement of the state apparatus, interested and Independent parties as well as the Nigeria Police in the maltreatment of Ajaero, Governor Uzodimma has emphasised that the state had no hand in brutalisation of the Labour leader last week.

Uzodimma rather stated that as a National Labour, indigene of Imo State and “interested party” with the Labour Party in the state, Ajaero could have been more careful in dabbling in the local politics under the purported Labour leaders’ protest.

Labour’s showdown over Imo State is coming just days to the November 11, 2023 Governorship polls in the state.

The incumbent governor is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress seeking re-election in the off-season gubernatorial election.

Redeployment of Imo State Police Commissioner over alleged complicity

Sequel to the attack in Ajaero in Owerri, there had been widespread outrage by the Organised Labour, accusing Mohammed Barde, Commissioner of Police in Imo State, of complicity in the recent attack.

The Organised Labour, last Friday, also issued the Federal Government a five-day ultimatum to replace the State Police Commissioner, while also blaming Governor Hope Uzodimma who is currently seeking re-election, for the attack on Ajaero.

The governor has since said he had no hand in the attack on the Labour leader in Imo State, but attributed the development to local politicking ahead of the gubernatorial polls in the state next week.

The Organised Labour further demanded the arrest and prosecution of some of the governor’s aide, and threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action, if their demands were not addressed.

In response to their Labour leaders’ demand, Kayode Egbetokun, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Sunday, November 5, then redeployed Imo Police Commissioner Barde for “neutrality sake” ahead of the November 11, 2023 governorship election.

NLC/TUC resolutions on both Imo State and entire Nigeria

Subsequently, the NLC/TUC NEC-in-Session resolved and stated in the communique, as follows:

“To order the immediate withdrawal of services and shutdown of Imo state beginning midnight today (Tuesday, November 7).

“All workers and affiliates are expected to ensure compliance from wherever they are.

“All flights into and out of Imo state, fuel supplies and Electricity be stopped immediately as applicable.

“All Public and Private Sector workers are to immediately down tools indefinitely.”

The Labour said: “That if our demands are still unmet, workers all over the Federation shall join in withdrawing their services by Midnight Tuesday, the 14th of November, 2023

“All State Councils of NLC & TUC and affiliates are by this resolution mandated to ensure full compliance with NEC’s decision,” among other demands.

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