June 13, 2024

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed strong disapproval of Governor Alex Otti’s government’s involvement in the internal leadership structure of the state council of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

In a letter dated Sunday, NLC President Joe Ajaero conveyed this condemnation to Mr. Otti. Ajaero revealed that the NLC was deeply concerned about a communication sent to the NURTW, an affiliate of the NLC, on June 20th, by the state government’s secretary, Kenneth Kalu.

Ajaero pointed out that the letter from the Abia government advised the NURTW president to consider specific individuals for influential positions within the road union’s state council. The NLC president alleged that Governor Otti’s government proposed a list of individuals for these positions, which included Chukwuma Anazodo as chairman, Chika Arthur as deputy chairman, Tochi Ephraim as treasurer, Azubuike Victor as financial secretary, Anyanwu Ogaraku as organizing secretary, Ogbuagu Ukadike (member), Eze Okwulehie (trustee), Alozia Onuoha (member), Nwankudu Onyedikachi (member), and Chimauche Okorie (member).

“Our initial response to the letter, upon being informed by the union, was disbelief. It was difficult to fathom that a government, elected under the Labor Party, could issue such a letter,” stated Mr. Ajaero.

Referring to Article 3 of Convention 87 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ajaero emphasized that workers’ and employers’ organizations possess the right to establish their own constitutions and rules. He highlighted that public authorities should abstain from any intervention that curtails this right or obstructs its legitimate exercise.

Ajaero underscored the significance of ILO Convention 87 as a fundamental global convention that is deemed sacred and inviolable. He criticized Governor Otti’s endeavor to seize control of the Abia NURTW’s leadership, deeming it hasty, uninformed, and unlawful.

“We demand that the government publicly disavow and promptly retract the letter from the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Additionally, it is imperative that the Abia state government commits to refraining from interfering in trade union activities within the state,” Ajaero demanded.

He advocated for the utilization of social dialogue to address any concerns the state government might have regarding the current NURTW leadership in Abia. Ajaero concluded by expressing the expectation of an immediate response from Mr. Otti.

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