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May Day: TUC protests denial of Eagle Square for rally

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), has protested the last minute order denying organised labour the use of Eagle Square as venue for the May 1, Workers Day rally.

Mr Festus Osifoh, TUC President, made the union’s position known while addressing newsmen at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC), meeting which held on Friday night in Abuja.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had also earlier, kicked against the order by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), denying labour unions the use of the venue for the May Day rally.

Osifoh recalled that a letter was received from the Abuja Investment Company, a subsidiary of the FCDA, informing organised labour of the withdrawal of the permit granted it for holding the May Day rally in Abuja, on Monday.

According to the TUC helmsman, the union rejects the last minute change of venue for the Workers’ Day rally.

“One of the agencies under the FCTA communicated to us that the Eagles Square will not be available for our May Day parade on Monday.

“But suffice to note that this is not the first time that we will be holding May Day parade at the Eagle Square, and swearing in would follow on May 29.

“This has been taking place since 1999, and we have always had a way of carrying out our parade before they go ahead with their preparations for hand-over.

“May 1, is four weeks away from the handing over date, but our government is telling us that political considerations are much more important than the issues of workers,” he said.

Osifoh expressed disappointment with the Federal Government, for putting political considerations above workers’ interests and welfare, insisting that the congress believed that workers’ issues should be prioritised.

According to him, the organised Labour rejects offers of other alternatives, saying; “they have asked us to go to the Old Parade Ground, and we are not going”.

“If they are not giving us the place that we have been using for this event, then we will wait and at the appropriate time, we will answer them.

Osifoh also said the congress condemned the alleged last minute move by the Federal Government to privatise institutions, including federal medical centres, NIPOST and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

He stressed that Nigerian workers would resist any plan to sell the assets of public-owned establishments, especially at the twilight of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

“TUC is opposed to plans by the Federal Government to privatise NIPOST and to strip the entity of its assets, handing them over to private concerns.

“We say no to this, and it is fundamentally not correct because NIPOST is a national asset.

He alleged that the Federal Ministry of Finance had released N8 billion for the proposed privatisation plan, and which large part would be given to private companies that would manage the assets.

“We call on the government not to disburse that money, but to keep it and let the incoming administration have proper deliberations on the right course of action,” he said.

On the operations of the transport sector, specifically in Lagos state, the TUC urged the state government to immediately return the parks to Road Transport Owners Association of Nigeria (RETAN), as ordered by the court.


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