The Presidency has described the nationwide strike embarked upon by organised labour as an attempt to blackmail the government.
The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, in a statement on Monday said the planned action is an abuse of privilege and one that contravenes a restraining order by the Industrial Court against the strike.
He noted that Ajaero’s assault in Imo though condemnable is a personal issue that shouldn’t force the whole country into punishment.
The statement read, “This decision by the NLC and TUC other than being an ego-tripping move is clearly unwarranted. It is an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC.
“We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgment led to assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.
“While the Federal government does not condone any form of violence and assault on any citizen of Nigeria regardless of his or her social and economic status, it is on record that the Inspector General of Police has ordered an investigation into what happened to Ajaero while the Commissioner of Police in Imo State under whose watch the incident happened has been transferred out of the state.
“Calling out workers on a national strike over a personal issue of a labour leader despite a clear court order against any industrial action amounts to an abuse of privilege. Power at any level should never be used to settle personal scores. Rather, it should be used to promote collective progress and advance national interest.”
The statement added that the strike action is a sinister move to cause further hardship on the masses, noting that the labour movement should not be seen as one that shows disdain against the rule of law.
“Our national economy and social activities should not suffer because of the personal interest of any labour leader.
“This flagrant disobedience to a court order and lack of respect for the judiciary should not be what the organised Labour would champion.
“The labour movement has always been a champion of the rule of law and respect for the judiciary. It is a sad irony that the current labour leaders have shown disdain and utter disregard for the court orders.
“We reiterate that this strike action is illegal, immoral, unjustifiable and irresponsible. What the strike notice issued Monday night after official hours suggests is it’s designed for a sinister and hidden agenda to cause undue hardship and civil disturbance in our country. This is unacceptable,” it concluded.