Strike over Ajaero assault abuse of power, says LCCI, maritime sector loses N20bn
•Labour threatens to resume strike, insists on demands, says suspension temporary
The national executive councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress on Wednesday night suspended their nationwide strike over an alleged assault on the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero.
The unions said the suspension followed the intervention of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.
However, the organised Private Sector and the maritime operators carpeted the NLC and TUC over the industrial action, stating that it was ill-timed and misconceived.
The OPS comprising critical players in the economy noted that the strike would affect the Federal Government’s ability to meet its yearly revenue target.
Our correspondent gathered that the organised Labour meeting which commenced a few minutes past 7pm lasted for close to one hour during which various affiliates and state chapters reviewed the outcome of the meeting held between the leaders of the organized Labour and the NSA.
The National Deputy President of the TUC, Tommy Etim, explained that the strike was suspended based on the trust the unions had in Ribadu.
He stated, “The NECs of the NLC and the TUC have suspended the strike. We did this based on our trust in the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu who gave us his word. We also saw that he wasn’t playing politics with our demands and he was ready and promised to follow up with everything.”
Asked whether the suspension of the strike was indefinite, Etim said, “It is a temporary suspension. We are going to give them some time after which we will meet and if they fail to meet up, the strike resumes.
“We listened to the NSA and he listened to us. He noted that Ajaero didn’t do anything wrong by going to Imo State. We must commend the NSA and it is because of him that there is a suspension of the strike.”
The labour leaders had earlier on Wednesday met with the NSA who announced the arrest of two suspected involved in the attack in Owerri, Imo State on November 1.
The NSA revealed this during a meeting with labour leaders in Abuja on Wednesday- the second day of the strike.
He also apologised to the organised labour over the attack on the NLC president.
Two days into the strike, licensed customs agents operating in the nation’s maritime sector, said that the country had lost between N10bn to N20bn following the lockdown of the ports by the Maritime Workers Unions of Nigeria.
One of our correspondents observed that as of Wednesday, access to Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports was restricted as workers were denied entry into the facilities.
Giving an update on the development, the Deputy National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Mr Nnadi Ugochukwu said, “The country is losing and the individuals are also losing. I have a customer here who was supposed to take delivery of his vehicles yesterday (Tuesday) but he couldn’t, having to pay demurrage of about N500,000 on a car for two weeks.
“He is paying N30,000 daily. He had paid today (Wednesday) and he can’t take it today so he will still pay for another day tomorrow. So, everybody is losing but I can’t equate how much that is being lost.’’
Also speaking, the Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Tin Can Island Chapter, Abayomi Duyile, said that so far, the economy had lost between N10bn to N20bn in the sector within the two days of the strike.
He said, “The cost for these days now should be in billions. Let’s just say they have lost about N20bn in these few days. You know a day you do not work in our clime, you know the cost implications.