THE NIGERIA Labour Congress (NLC) has tackled Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed for declaring the union’s planned solidarity protest in support of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) lingering strike over unmet demands by the Federal Government illegal.
NLC said the right to peaceful assembly and protest is a fundamental global right guaranteed by the UN Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mohammed had described the planned nationwide protest, scheduled for July 26 and 27, as illegal while briefing State House reporters after the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Stating why it is embarking on the protest in a statement on its website Thursday, the association said all the four trade unions involved in the strike in the nation’s public universities are affiliates of NLC.
“Secondly, as citizens, our children have been out of school for five months. The majority are children of the working class and the less privileged; this alone should call for urgent action.
“All peaceful assemblies are lawful and do not require any permission under the law.
“In a democratic society, such a statement (by Lai Mohammed) is not consistent with the rule of law,” the statement, signed by the NLC’s President Ayuba Wabba, said.
In addition to students’ bodies that have backed the NLC’s planned protest, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) has directed its members to join the protest.
The Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) also vowed to shut down the nation’s airports in solidarity with ASUU.
Similarly, the Coalition of Northern Groups Students Wing (CNG-SW) ordered its chapters across the 19 Northern states to prepare for protests in support of the striking lecturers.
On Tuesday, the ICIR reported that ASUU president, Emmanuel Osodeke, urged all Nigerians to join the strike.
At a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, the union vowed to continue with the strike it started on February 14.
President Muhammadu Buhari met with some ministers on the same day, directing them to find solutions to the stalemate.
Despite the President’s intervention, the workers said the protest would hold as scheduled.