A lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Sunny Mbazie has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to arm twist the federal government to serve the interest of Nigerian masses by accepting the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) demands and calling off the 5-month-old strike.
Speaking in an interview with Metronetworknews on the ongoing NLC protest, Dr. Mbazie said the federal government is stiff necked and except NLC put strong pressure that they will not concede to its demands.
He urged them to persist in the protest , adding that such activism on the part of NLC is for the interest of the entire country as against the political leaders parochial interest of profligacy.
He commended NLC for embarking on the protest, describing the action as patriotic.
“I think as a lecturer we are very happy with NLC. Their action is patriotic and the demands of ASUU is legitimate. In ASUU, we are demanding for quality education, which is one of the tenets of development. Our political leaders are unpatriotic and self centred. Reason being that their children are xchooling abroad and in private schools. It is our hope that the NLC protest will arm twist them for the sake of the masses of this country”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, has said that the workers’ union will embark on a three-day nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to accede to the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities after the ongoing two-day warning protest organised by the NLC.
Wabba, who spoke in an interview with Channels TV ‘Sunrise Daily’, also stated that the workers’ union embarked on a two-day protest against the ongoing ASUU strike not just as a show of solidarity, but because the strike directly affected the NLC.
He said, “The two-day warning strike is to call for attention for the issues to be resolved promptly. The next level is a three-day national warning strike if nothing has happened after the protest, to show our grievances.
“We are not on a solidarity action, we are affected directly.”
The NLC had organised the two-day protest after a series of failed negotiations between the FG and ASUU to resolve the strike action.
Wabba, who stated that the ongoing protest was a democratic norm which was constitutional and supported by the international charters, added that it was not illegal to carry out such demonstration on the streets.
He said, “These are democratic norms everywhere in the world. Even as an individual, you have the right to air your grievances.
“It is within the provision of our law. It is backed by the United Nations charter for human and peoples rights, African charter for human and peoples rights, and it is there in our constitution — sections 39 and 40.”
Since plans for the ongoing protest was announced by the NLC, the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, had alleged that the protest was illegal and would create anarchy in the country.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had also taunted the workers’ union, claiming erroneously that the protest was against international labour practices.
The Nigeria Police Force had also in its bid to defend the regime, demanded that the NLC should get a permit from the Force before embarking on the two-day warning-protest.
Responding to the claims by the authorities, Wabba said the court of law had pronounced that citizens did not need permission from the police or any authority to carry out protests.
He said, “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 the NLC to press for similar actions in the past.”
metronetworknews with punch report.