The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has condemned the planned nationwide protests planned by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to show solidarity with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
NCL ASUU Strike Protest
KanyiDaily recalls that ASUU had embarked on a warning strike since February 14, over the failure of the federal government to meet its demands.
Amid the strike, the government and the union have held a series of meetings, but no agreement has been reached by both sides on ending the strike.
In a letter dated July 15, the NLC directed its state councils to mobilize for a nationwide protest on Tuesday, July 26, and Wednesday, July 27, over the continued ASUU Strike.
The NLC said the protest is aimed at getting “our children back to school and support our unions in Nigeria’s public universities fighting for quality education”.
Lai Mohammed Condemns NLC Protest Over ASUU Strike
Reacting to the development, the minister said the planned street protest is illegal since the NLC has no pending dispute with the federal government.
Mohammed, who also accused the NLC of being motivated by partisan interests, advised the Congress to “insulate itself completely from politics.”
He spoke on Wednesday while briefing state house correspondents after the weekly meeting of the federal executive council (FEC) at the presidential villa, Abuja.
“The NLC is not a political party. The NLC can go on strike or protest if the rights of NLC members are involved. What the NLC is planning in the next two days is about interest,” Mohammed said.
“There’s no dispute whatsoever between NLC as a body with the federal government. Well yes, there’s a dispute between some members of NLC, ASUU and the federal government which is being looked into. And NLC itself is a party to the committee that is looking into the solution. So calling out people on street protest, you begin to wonder, what is the motive of NLC in this matter?
“But you see here, we do not interrogate what NLC is doing. NLC by its own laws, cannot even give out pamphlets. And NLC is supposed to be completely insulated from politics. Now, if you declare dispute with us, yes you can go on strike.
“Even that one would depend on whether certain steps have been taken or not. But this particular NLC… you know, asking and mobilising people to come out on strike on July 26 and 27, is clearly on nothing.
“The federal government is as worried as NLC and everybody, but the law is the law. What I expect NLC to do as an umbrella body is to find solutions, to join federal government in finding solutions.
“They are part of the tripartite [committee] that has been negotiating with federal government on this ASUU issue. So why are they now going out to take sides?
“I think you should also interrogate it yourselves. I think it is popular to get NLC out and support but ask yourself how does that help the problem? How does that solve the problem? What you are going to create is more anarchy. And I think the NLC should think twice about their proposed strike in solidarity with ASUU.”
The minister added that the federal government is not “doing nothing” about the strike.
This comes after ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke urged every Nigerian to protest against the leaders who are deliberately keeping children at home while their children attend schools abroad.