THE Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has dismissed as propaganda the claim by the Rivers State Government that it obtained an interlocutory injunction on Friday stopping the protest being organised jointly by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress billed to hold on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at the state capital, Port Harcourt.
The Chairperson of the Rivers State Council of NLC, Comrade (Mrs) Beatrice Itubo, told National Record Friday night in a telephone interview that the claimed interlocutory injunction was a mere rumour and propaganda by the state government.
When asked that if the protest and state-wide strike has been suspended because of the alleged court injunction, Comrade (Mrs) Itubo said: “No, no, it is not correct, it is not correct. There is no court injunction; they are just peddling rumours. Who did they serve? Is court injunction served on social media platforms?
“They have not served anybody anything and we are still mobilising. It is just state propaganda! They just want to make people feel that the protest and strike action will not happen! It is a strategy so that people will not come out in their numbers. The people will come out in their thousands. It is a rumour, it is not correct. We are going ahead with the protests.
“As we talk, we are on air; we too are telling people that we are going ahead with the protest. Even by tomorrow, our people will be out on sensitisation.”
Information Commissioner Claims NLC Served with Injunction
Meanwhile the Rivers State Government claimed that the NLC was dully served with the interlocutory injunction.
Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said NLC had been dully served with the Court Order, although he did not state if the service was made at the National or State secretariats of the labour centres.
The Commissioner said the Rivers State Government believes in the rule of law and would obey the court order. He stated that the order also restrained the defendants not to embark on strike on any other date whether earlier or later pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction filed in the suit. The commissioner claimed that the defendants in the matter include the NLC, TUC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, NLC President; Comrade Quadri Olaleye, TUC President; Comrade (Mrs) Beatrice Itubo Rivers State council Chairperson of NLC and Comrade Austin Jonah, Rivers State Council Chairperson of TUC.
Labour had accused Wike of tyranny, violence and terrorism against workers
On Thursday, the NLC and TUC had accused Governor Wike of industrial tyranny, state-sponsored violence and terrorism against workers and citizens in Rivers State.
The two centres had revealed that events in the past few weeks in Rivers State clearly indicate that “there is a full-fledged bloom of despotic rule in Rivers State under the administration and supervision of Mr. Nyesom Wike.” They revealed that in addition to the series of violent crackdown on organised labour by the government since February this year, the Rivers State government had on August 27, unleashed a “campaign of terror against workers” by mobilising armed hoodlums to disrupt NLC’s Rivers State Executive Council meeting.
According to them, Nigerian workers have never had it so rough under any state governor, as Rivers workers are going through under Governor Wike whom they described as a demi-god.
“The attack on the leaders of the NLC in Rivers State on Thursday, 27th August 2020 was only the tipping of a well calculated attempt by the Rivers State government to eviscerate, incarcerate and decimate the leadership of Labour in Rivers State. The grand design is to muzzle the voice of Rivers State workers who face a despicable industrial ordeal.
“Fellow citizens, Nigerian workers have never had it so bad under a state governor as Mr. Nyesom Wike who now sees himself as a demi-god. As the demi-god that he believes he is, Mr. Nyesom Wike has no scruples for the rule of law or basic standards of decency. He has arrogated and appropriated to himself the powers of both the executive, the judiciary, the legislative and the vicious powers of underground non-state operatives who openly identify themselves as thugs loyal to Mr. Wike,” the statement said.