The office of the Attorney General of the Federation has reacted to Monday’s insistence by Nigeria’s unions to embark on a nationwide strike on Tuesday.
The AGF office advised unions against striking, saying it would amount to disobedience to a court order issued on Friday halting the planned strike.
The office, in a statement by Kamarudeen Ogundele, spokesperson for the AGF and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, reminded the unions of Friday’s restraining order by the National Labor Court in Abuja that prevented the unions from embarking on the strike as planned.
“The provisional order was issued on November 10 by the President of the National Labor Court of Nigeria, Justice BB Kanyip.
“The unions have been notified of the court order and, therefore, must surrender to the authority of the court that already knows the facts of the case.
“Any action taken contrary to the order will amount to contempt of court,” Ogundele said in a statement.
The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates had declared strike, following the brutality suffered by the NLC Chairman, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State on November 1.
Ajaero was attacked in Owerri, the state capital, during an NLC protest against the Imo State government over alleged mistreatment of workers in the state.
On Monday, the NLC and TUC leaderships reached a resolution to begin the national strike in protest against the attack on Mr Ajaero.
They passed the resolution, defying the industrial court’s restraining order on Friday, at an extraordinary meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja.
According to Channels TV, the unions in a joint statement after their meeting said: “In compliance with the decision of the Joint National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC and TUC, all workers in Nigeria are hereby ordered to withdraw their services starting at 12:00 midnight today, November 13, 2023.
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“Consequently, all NLC/TUC affiliates and state councils are required to issue circulars for maximum compliance and these circulars will be made available to the National Secretaries or posted on the Whatsapp platforms of NEC and CWC.”
Addressing journalists on Monday, TUC president Festus Osifo said the strike would continue until “government at all levels wakes up to its responsibility”.
AGF’s appeal against the strike
Hours after the unions insisted on going ahead with the strike, the AGF office, in its statement on Monday, urged them to “respect the court order and adhere to the principle of the rule of law.”
“There is no need to resort to self-help,” the statement said, adding: “We urge workers to report to duty and not be afraid, as their safety is guaranteed and will be protected within the ambit of the law.” “.