October 4, 2020

Many wanted labour’s strike as revenge for 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests— Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Presidency has said detractors were going to use the strike suspended by Organised Labour to take revenge over the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which forced the administration of then-President Goodluck Jonathan to U-turn on subsidy.

This and many more claims were made in a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Sunday.

Vanguard had reported that following extensive negotiations, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, called off the nationwide strike that was to begin last Monday, September 28, over hike in fuel pump price and electricity tariff.

Reacting to perceived criticism of labour for suspending the strike, Adesina said organised labour acted sensibly, while he mocked some Nigerians who “have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate”.

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The statement read: “Since Organised Labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.

“They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as a smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience.

“But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against Organized Labour.

“For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.

“For some others, bitter-enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was an opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.

“The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as an opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections.

“For them, it was all about hankering for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about love of country. They have since then been calling Organized Labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.

“The times in which we live— with severe security, economic and social challenges—call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend Organized Labour for putting the country first.

“Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends, or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country.

“Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more.”