NLC Begins Nationwide Protest Over University Teachers Strike

NLC Begins Nationwide Protest Over University Teachers Strike

By Sam Egburonu, Editor

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) today successfully kicked off it’s threatened two-day nationwide protest, scheduled for July 26 and 27, 2022.

The protest is NLC’s  way of persuading the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the prolonged strike by university workers, which has kept students  at home for months.

NewsOrient learnt that the demonstration is planned to take place in all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

It would be recalled that university workers, including members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), among others, had been on strike for many reasons.

NLC, in it’s reaction to the prolonged University lecturers’ strike faulted the Federal Government “over its handling of the industrial actions that have grounded activities in public institutions.”

It therefore “called on the government to pay the salaries of the striking workers, which it said had since “been frozen on the premise of the so-called ‘no work-no pay’ policy”.

The labour body asked the government to immediately conclude the ongoing negotiations with unions and be prepared to “commence implementation of whatever Collective Bargaining Agreement arising therefrom” in a bid to ensure public universities resume normal activities.”

It then declared a two-day nationwide protest to stress the importance of resolving the impasse with the unions in order to save the university education system from collapse.

Channels reports that “ahead of the protest, trade unions in various critical sectors such as aviation, electricity, and petroleum, among others, have directed their members to act in line with the directive of the labour union.”

NewsOrient investigation shows that many states, including Lagos and Ogun, actively participated in today’s protest.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had alleged that the nationwide protest embarked upon by NLC in solidarity with the striking university lecturers, is illegal.

Also, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, warned that the protest was against international labour practices.

But in his reaction to the allegations made by the top government officials,  Ayuba Wabba, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says the union’s current action is legal.

He said NLC embarked on the two-day protest against the ongoing ASUU strike because “it is directly affected.”

He spoke on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday.

According to Wabba, the protest is not illegal; it is a democratic norm which is constitutional and supported by international charters.

As he puts it: “It is within the provision of our law; it is backed by UN Charter for Human and People’s Rights; African Charter for Human and People’s Right. It is there in our Constitution — section 39, 40. Even the court has pronounced that you don’t require any permission. It is legal and within your fundamental human rights to protest issues.

“When people say it’s illegal, I think people should remember that no condition is permanent. We have had some of our current politicians join NLC to press for similar action in the past.

“We are not on a solidarity action, we are affected directly.