As the 14-day ultimatum given to the Imo State Government to recall 3000 sacked workers and clear months of salary arrears among others, expires, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has urged the residents of the state to stock-pile food stuff and prepare for a long battle to force the government to yield to labour demands.
Congress called on civil society allies, market women, elders and community leaders including students to join forces with in order to restore sanity to the state. A statement by Mr. Igwe Achese, President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and a member of the six-man action committee on Imo set up by leaders of the two factions of NLC, insisted that the planned industrial action would not only cripple the government in Imo State, but would help it to understand and appreciate the principles of respect for the moral and legal rights of her workers and citizens.
According to the statement, “It is important to inform the Governor that the movement is united on this if he is consoling himself with current events in the Congress. His disappointment should also increase if he knows that the Congress has set up a Joint Action Committee, JAC, to oversee our engagement with his government. We hope that this will send a clear message of our determination to get him to align with the sovereign will of the people and workers in Imo State.
“We know the capacity for chicanery which the government possesses. Perhaps that is what has emboldened the unlawful actions he is bent on foisting on the workers in the state but we assure the government that we are fully prepared. We have seen all manners of wicked behaviour directed against Nigerian workers in the past and fortunately, we have withered all of them and are still standing unbent. We assure the government that after this struggle, we shall remain standing as this has always been the historical truth. The Police are also advised not to collude with the government to continue suppressing the people because it will only add to the battered image of the force and will not stop the people from expressing their desire for equity, justice and fairness.
“We call on our allies in the civil society movement, market women and men, businessmen, elders and community leaders including students to join forces with us as we prepare to restore sanity to Governance in Imo state. We advise residents of Imo state especially those in Owerri to stockpile food and other necessities as we will go the entire hog to ensure that the government is made to subject itself to the sovereign will of the people. We also warn those who use the roads that may lead in or out of Owerri to seek other routes as traffic in these areas will be seriously affected.” (Vanguard)