THE Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has announced the suspension of its nationwide mass protest, originally scheduled to begin on August 14. The decision came after a closed-door meeting between NLC leaders, Trade Union Congress, and President Bola Tinubu. The President assured concrete actions on various issues, including the restructuring of the framework for handling the consequences of the PMS price hike, the commencement of production at the Port Harcourt Refinery by December, the timely resolution of the wage award for Nigerian workers, and the development of a workable roadmap for the CNG alternative.
However, the Federal Ministry of Justice persisted with a contempt charge against NLC and TUC despite the agreements reached. In response, the NLC has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the contempt charge before August 11, 2023. The NEC-in-Session has vowed to go on a comprehensive nationwide strike starting August 14 if the contemptuous court summons are not withdrawn.
The contempt proceeding was initiated by the Federal Government, alleging that NLC and TUC violated a June 5, 2023, exparte order by the National Industrial Court, NIC. The notice of contempt proceeding was addressed to NLC President Joe Ajaero, Deputy Presidents Audu Aruba, Prince Adeyanju Adewale, and Kabiru Sani, and General Secretary Emmanuel Ugboaja, as well as TUC President Engr Festus Usifo and Secretary General Nuhu Toro.
The exparte order had restrained the defendants from embarking on any planned industrial action or strike pending the hearing and determination of a Motion on Notice scheduled for June 19, 2023. Despite this order, the nationwide protest was held, leading to the government’s decision to pursue a contempt charge.
The NLC has expressed its commitment to holding the government accountable and maintaining vigilance on the issues raised during the protest. The suspension of the protest is seen as a gesture of goodwill, expecting the government to honor its promises within the agreed timeline of August 19, 2023.