NLC, employers trade blame over violent protest in Lagos
The Comrade Joe Ajearoled faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) are now trading blames over last Friday’s violent protest which disrupted the latter’s 59th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and left many injured as they scampered for safety.
The Ajearo group had picketed NECA to register its displeasure over the institution’s alleged support for mass sack by banks and its exclusion from dialogue stopping picketing of the affected banks.
The group in a statement at the weekend, accused the Director General of NECA, Mr.Olusegun Oshinowo of hiring armed thugs who beat up journalists inflicting various degrees of injuries on workers and onlookers and stole various items including media cameras, phones, money and other personal belongings.
‘’We are worried and all Nigerians should be worried that NECA will resort to the use of thuggery and violence rather than the peaceful process as enshrined in our laws and rules of engagement especially when governance framework is well laid out within the nation’s and international industrial relations space.’’
But, Oshinowo said his organization is law abiding and would not resort to lawlessness to dislodge lawlessness, adding that the development informed the association’s decision to invite security agencies to protect the organisation’s workers and premises when he got wind of the Joe Ajaero faction’s plan to picket the organization.
He said in-fighting among hoodlums and thugs hired by Ajaero over distribution of money paid them to carry out the illegal picket was responsible for the fracas.
According to him, another set of pro Ajaero’s hired hoodlums who felt left out of the largesse, after an initial mobilisation, had then decided to undermine the illegal picketing.
He said there was a counter action by the legal and recognised NLC to stop Ajaero from further acting in the name of the NLC and parading himself its president.
‘’These are all possible leads as we welcome the appropriate authority to investigate the cause of this mayhem, which ordinarily would not have occurred if Ajaero had respected the industrial relations laws of Nigeria and the law enforcement agencies present in NECA had acted decisively by dispersing the picketers who were very unruly and in fact paralysed vehicular and human movement in the entire Ikeja neighbourhood.
‘’We again affirm that trade unionism and union immunity is not a license for anyone to brazenly trample on the rights of other economic actors and breach public order,” he said.