By Zakaa Lazarus, Abuja.
The United Action Front of Civil Society have accused President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led federal government of hostile disposition of constructive Opposition and Labour activism since assumption of office.
The group also alleged that the APC led federal government is out to criminalise civil opposition and labour activism in a desperate attempt to cripple vibrant platforms of the of the Nigerian polity in furtherance of its dubious agenda of neo colonialist policies fraught with profligacy and corruption with attendant negative consequences manifesting in excruciating multi-dimensional poverty as well as codified hardship on the masses.
These were disclosed in a statement signed by Olawale Okunnyini, Head, National Coordinating Secretariat, United Action Front Of Civil Society in Abuja.
According to the statement, “the federal government has so far remained evasive and appeared not committed to fulfilling the agreement it reached with labour.
“We are concerned that rather than fulfil the agreement with labour and bring succor to the downtrodden working masses of Nigeria, it is unfortunate that government is embarking on smear campaigns, criminalisation and targeted attacks and brutality of labour and opposition leaders.
“The manipulative use of court orders by government to frustrate and truncate the legitimate rights and demand of workers and masses by the present administration is another condemnable and irresponsible trend to be employed by a supposed democratic government
“Prior to the most condemnable brutalisation of NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero in Owerri, Imo State capital recently by agents of the Supreme Court Governor of Imo State, Mr. Hope Uzodinma, the leadership of the United Action Front of Civil Society had observed with consternation, the subtle and naked tactics of blackmail being deployed by officials of the Tinubu administration.
“Since the inauguration of the Tinubu’s Presidency, his handlers have embarked on deliberate but futile media campaigns aimed at denigrating the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC in the desperation to discredit principled demands for better welfare package for Nigerian workers and unflinching commitment of Workers to the defence of the rights of the masses.
“It is on record that officials of the Tinubu administration; particularly his spokespersons have embarked on media campaigns aimed at discrediting the NLC and Comrade Joe Ajaero, their Leader
“For the avoidance of doubt, the United Action Front of Civil Society wishes to reiterate unalloyed support for the NLC, the TUC as well as rank and file leadership of labour and civil opposition in Nigeria, who have remained committed to ameliorating the sufferings and unprecedented hardship of Nigerian masses.
“We therefore wish to salute the unshaken and unbroken commitment of the NLC and TUC for the defence of the rights of Nigerian workers and masses whose future has been mortgaged through the anti-people policies of government, which continue to make flamboyant lifestyles of public office holders seemingly justifiable in the face of excruciating hardship of the masses who unfortunately are persistently called upon to make sacrifices; and more sacrifices.
“Enamoured by the dehumanizing treatment of Comrade Joe Ajaero in the hands of Hope Uzodinma agents and thugs in connivance with the men of the Nigeria police, the United Action Front of Civil Society is aware of plans by the federal government to unleash more terror on the leadership of the NLC / TUC through orchestrated anarchy to be machinated by paid thugs of government in Lagos and Abuja as well as other locations across country.
“The planned attacks on labour unionists and civil society activists is aimed at further stirring up confusion and to blackmail NLC and TUC leadership as irresponsible and plotting insurrection against the government. In the same manner armed thugs were unleashed on peaceful and defenseless EndSARS protesters, the plot against the NLC / TUC is to deploy agent provocateurs to unleash terror and then blamed the incidents on the leadership of the labour and its allies.
“The leadership of the United Action Front of Civil Society again wishes to reteirate our demand that the Bola Tinubu Presidency and Hope Uzodinma of Imo State apologize to Nigerian workers and people in general for the brutalisation of No 1 Worker of Nigeria, Comrade Joe Ajaero by State Agents and political thugs of the APC during a peaceful workers rally in Imo State as we condemn the deployment of soldiers to intimidate labour leaders as witnessed at the Abuja Airport during last rally of NLC and TUC to protest the brutalisation of NLC President.
” We therefore condemn the hypocrisy of President Tinubu and the APC who exploited the gains of popular democratic struggles of the Nigerian Civil Society to gain accendancy to power, only to turn intolerant and monstrous against popular protests and Civil resistance against injustice and all forms of undemocratic practices.
” To this end, we condemn the deployment of soldiers and armed thugs to intimidate and attack protesting workers and opposition leaders, who are simply exercising constitutional rights within the ambit of democracy.
“Furthermore, the United Action Front of Civil Society calls on Nigerian people and masses to manifestly support and back up the nationwide strike action declared by the NLC and TUC to protest the brutalisation of Comrade Joe Ajaero.