The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has responded to the allegations made by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, in a statement titled “Bayo Onanuga’s Mischief and the Tragedy of a Nation.”
The NLC’s response comes after Onanuga, in a statement speaking for the federal government, condemned the union strike, labelling it an “ego-tripping move” intended to “blackmail the government.”
The presidential aide also claimed that the strike was “over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.”
But NLC, in a statement by its spokesperson, Benson Upah, said the strike is not about ego, or a personal matter involving Ajaero, but rather about the government’s failure to address the plight of workers and Nigerians.
According to reports, the union also said the strike was about the “licence for impunity that covers murder and attempted murder of dissenting voices” including Ajaero, which the Nigerian State now passes off as a “personal matter”.
NLC accused Onanuga of making “sadistic comments” and suggested that his remarks reflected the views of those in power.
The union stated: “Blackmail the government over what? A bribe or a favour organised labour asked for and did not get it or what?
“If Onanuga were not suffering from selective amnesia, he ought to have known that this government should remain grateful to the organised labour for its uncommon patience with a government that clearly was not prepared for the consequences of its fundamentalist market policies of massive currency devaluation and ‘subsidy’ removal, which imposed on Nigerians social violence, upheaval, dislocation, displacement or punishment they never before experienced.
“Onanuga similarly ought to have known that organised labour, by not opting for a strike as a first option, acted as a bulwark against the rage of Nigerians, thereby saving this government from itself.”