Abeni Aso-Oke

Subject: In Defense of Constitutional Rights and the Justifiable Strike Action. Mr. Bayo Onanuga, by Chidi Ekeh

Subject: In Defense of Constitutional Rights and the Justifiable Strike ActionMr. Bayo Onanuga,

I read with profound disappointment your recent statement condemning the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a strike action. While I understand the need for a government representative to express concerns, your vexatious note undermines the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and association as enshrined in the constitution.

Abeni Aso-Oke
Abeni Aso-Oke

Firstly, the essence of the constitution lies in its assurance of citizens’ freedom of speech and association. Criticizing Mr. Ajaero for being in Owerri and condemning the strike based on his presence is a mischievous move that disregards the constitutional rights of every citizen to move freely within the country. The right to peaceful assembly and association is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and attempts to vilify individuals for exercising these rights are inherently anti-democratic.

Furthermore, your assertion that the strike is an “ego-tripping move” and an attempt to “blackmail the government” overlooks the legitimate concerns and demands put forth by the unions. It is essential to recognize that the call for a strike is not solely based on a personal matter involving Mr. Ajaero but is a response to the assault on workers in Imo State. The demands, including the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the attack, highlight the unions’ commitment to upholding justice and protecting the rights of their members.

Abeni Aso-Oke

The demands made by the trade union are not only reasonable but also essential for maintaining the rule of law and ensuring accountability. The call to arrest and prosecute individuals involved in the brutalization of NLC President and workers in Imo State is a pursuit of justice, not a personal vendetta. It is disheartening that your response fails to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and instead focuses on discrediting the unions.

Supporting the strike action is not an endorsement of lawlessness; rather, it is a stand for the rights of citizens against any form of brutality and injustice. Your characterization of the strike as “illegal, immoral, unjustifiable, and irresponsible” demonstrates a lack of empathy for the plight of workers who have faced violence in the course of their duties. The organized labour movement has historically championed the rule of law, and the unions are well within their rights to demand justice for their members.

In celebrating the demands of the union, it is crucial to recognize that these demands align with the principles of justice, accountability, and the protection of citizens’ rights, as enshrined in the constitution. The call for the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the attacks is a legitimate demand that upholds the rule of law and ensures that individuals are held accountable for their actions, regardless of their affiliations.

In conclusion, it is imperative to respect and uphold the constitutional rights of citizens, including the right to freedom of speech and association. Vilifying individuals for exercising these rights and dismissing legitimate concerns of workers only serves to erode the foundations of democracy. The unions’ demands are not only justifiable but essential for maintaining a society where the rights of citizens are protected, and justice prevails.

Sincerely,

Chidi Ekeh writes from Abuja FCT

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