The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun to order not to truncate the democratic process of the union.
The union also called on the state chapters to begin mobilization across the nation to resist any attempt to take over the union by some disgruntled elements.
The National President of the union, Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa disclosed this at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja over the illegal attack and invasion of its secretariat by the Lagos State Parks and Management Committee.
The union said the interference by the police and Government in the internal affairs of a trade union did not only contradicts the established legal processes for addressing industrial disputes in Nigeria, as enshrined in our Constitution but also portrays the Nigeria Police Force, under the IGP’s leadership, as a violator of the very laws it is mandated to uphold.
Baruwa queried the source of the IGP’s authority to intervene in trade union matters, especially when neither the Nigeria Police Force nor the IGP holds the role of a legal arbitrator in industrial disputes.
According to him ” We are perplexed by the IGP’s disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution, which, if allowed to persist, will undoubtedly lead to a breakdown of law and order in our beloved nation.
“The events that unfolded earlier today are deeply troubling. We were dismayed to witness a large contingent of police officers, accompanied by thugs and hoodlums, under the directive of the IGP, cordoning off and invading our National Headquarters; the National Union of Road Transport Workers, situated in Abuja.
” This alarming act was carried out with the intent to undermine the democratically elected leadership of our Union, led by Comrade Baruwa, and install a puppet leadership from Lagos State.
“We must emphasize that the interference of the Government in the internal affairs of a Trade Union, as witnessed today, is a blatant violation of democratic principles. It not only contradicts the established legal processes for addressing industrial disputes in Nigeria, as enshrined in our Constitution but also portrays the Nigeria Police Force, under the IGP’s leadership, as a violator of the very laws it is mandated to uphold.
“We remind all stakeholders that Nigeria remains a democracy, and it is imperative for the government to uphold democratic principles in all its dealings. Attempting to overthrow a democratically elected leadership within NURTW or any trade union for that matter not only contradicts international labor conventions but also undermines the very essence of democracy in Nigeria, which the government is duty-bound to protect.
“The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) calls all its state chapters to begin mobilization across the nation to resist this attempt at taking over our Union. Our Union is not a war booty that can be handed over as a trophy to anyone as compensation for whatever reasons.
“We urge the IGP to immediately withdraw the police operatives and associated hoodlums from our National Secretariat. We strongly implore the Nigeria Police Force to cease interfering in the affairs of our Union and to refrain from further actions that jeopardize the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers and citizens ”
Baruwa said if the unlawful actions persist the union would be compelled to take necessary steps to protect the rights and interests of its members and the Nigerian people as a whole.
” Nigerians must unite to condemn these actions, as they represent a dangerous slide toward despotism and a disregard for democratic values.
” We call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to immediately take steps to save our great Union from the clutches of the forces of retrogression that are bent on hijacking it. We may be the target today but we know that the ultimate target is a take over of the entire trade union movement. It is said that what we condone today may come to haunt us tomorrow.
” Intimidating and harassing trade union leaders and resorting to gestapo-style invasions of trade union secretariats are not the path to achieving the government’s stated objectives. Our nation must operate within the bounds of established rules and regulations, and government agencies must be at the forefront of upholding these principles. Any deviation from this course undermines our nation and leads to suboptimal outcomes for all. “