The meeting between the Nigerian government and leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday over the ongoing nationwide strike ended with no resolution.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu had invited the labour leaders to his office in Abuja for a meeting in an effort to end the strike declared by the organised labour to protest against the attack and brutalisation of the NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero in Owerri, Imo State capital, on November 1 by policemen and thugs.
SaharaReporters earlier reported that the NSA had in a statement said that some Ajaero’s attackers had been arrested and that investigation on the matter is ongoing, which he said his office is coordinating.
But speaking to journalists after the meeting, the Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong, said that though the meeting was fruitful, the labour did not immediately agree to call off the strike, rather, they promised to go back and discuss the outcome of the meeting with their constituencies and revert to the government.
He said, “The meeting was in respect to the incident that happened especially in Imo. This meeting came under heavy security consideration. That is why we took the meeting to the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and all the labour leaders were also here with us.
We had a very fruitful discussion and were very genuine and very frank, in which they also agreed that they are taking back to their constituencies with the plea to lift off the strike so that we can continue with our daily business.”
When asked if any agreement was reached, he said it was still an ongoing discussion, adding that “the government does not expect the strike to take long anymore.”
Also speaking, the TUC President, Festus Osifo, said that the NSA invited them for the meeting and that a lot of assurances were given to them in furtherance to the statement the NSA issued earlier that some of Ajaero’s attackers had been arrested.
We also told him our part of the story and at the end of the day, they made several appeals to us and several promises on what they are going to do and the ones they have already done.
So, we said we will go back and reappraise all the conversations that we have had and we will communicate accordingly,” Osifo said.
On how long it would take to call off the strike, the labour leader said that “the strike was caused by something and the strike is a symptom of a problem.
“So, it is the problem that we came here to have a conversation on and with all the assurances they have given us with the Office of the NSA to coordinate everything, every discussion we have had, we need to take it back, examine it and be able to take a decision.”