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Labour/Flight disruptions: “What they are doing is politics, not fight for the workers, it is politics”…Keyamo

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….as Aviation union leaders say, their demands completely apolitical

Scores of passengers headed to various parts of the country found themselves stranded at airports on Thursday as members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and their affiliated unions in the aviation industry staged a peaceful protest. 

This protest stems from the alleged mistreatment of NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo State capital few weeks ago by political thugs reportedly associated with the state Governor Hope Uzodinmma.

In Lagos, union members converged at the two local wings of the terminals, causing flight disruptions to Owerri. Security personnel were on site to maintain order, but the situation in Abuja unfolded differently.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, expressed his regret over these events, describing them as an unfortunate retaliation against the aviation sector. 

“I want to beg, leave aviation alone, you cannot target aviation in trying to address your grievances, you are targeting aviation, it is a global village, it affects foreigners coming in to Nigeria, it affects ordinary Nigerians going about their normal business”.

“It has spread to other areas this morning and as at yesterday we were battling with the fact that they said it was only flights to Imo that they would disrupt. But this morning they blocked the access into the road to Abuja airport, they are disrupting the entire country”,, he added.

He advised the labour movement not to allow politicians to exploit their cause and the Minister vowed to fight back.

“I as Aviation minister I will not allow that, if they do that, I will fight back, they should not target aviation and they should please don’t bring politics to Aviation, am grounded in this and have been with them over the years, they can deceive others they cannot decieve me what they are doing is politics it is not labour movement, it is not labour issues, it is not fight for the workers, it is politics, you can use that platform to support a party different from my party and when people are fighting back, you say is labour movement, No, and be ready for the consequences if you play politics”.

Secretary General of NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba, emphasized that there was no political agenda behind the union’s actions. 

“It is the opinion of the honorable minister and he is entitled to it but the National Executive Council of the NLC and TUC is populated with high level thinkers in the labour movement and the issues that are on the table are very, very clear which is simply to address the demands that have been placed before government including the Imo State Government. Those demands that have been made are completely apolitical, you cannot be owing workers and you say it is politics”.

This sentiment was echoed by Secretary General of ANAP, Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu.

“What is on ground is the decision of the NEC both of the NLC and TUC, it is not the decision of the unions in the aviation Industry and we are affiliated to both, the decision was made in Abuja and it is our duty to implement it against the Imo State Governor and we expect even the minister to advise the governor, instead of him to pay workers salary, he went to employ thugs and you say it is politics, it is not politics”.

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