THE Leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State chapter, has directed all public workers in the state to, as from Monday June 6, resume at the Magistrate Court Complex, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State, until their leaders who were arraigned on a seven count charge of alleged destruction of government property on Friday before a Magistrate Court, in Ibadan, are released from prison custody.
This was made known on Saturday morning during a press conference addressed by the Treasurer and Acting Chairman of the congress, Comrade Bosun Daramola, listing their five demands, at the union’s state secretariat, America Quarter, Agodi Gate, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The arrested labour leaders are Chairman, Comrade Waheed Olojede, Sikiru Sodo, Oseni Aderemi, Oparinde Kehinde, Falade Akinyele, Ogundeji Kofoworola and Adegbogun Titi.
They were alleged to have destroyed chairs at the venue of the stakeholders’ meeting, valued at N1 million, accused of disturbing public peace, assaulting the Secretary to the State Government, Olalekan Alli, and threatening the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
Though they were granted bail, they were unable to fulfil the bail condition as stipulated by the Magistrate before the close of work on Friday, June 3.
However, the union members stated emphatically that the arrest, arraignment and subsequent incarceration of their leaders is a gimmick by the state government to weaken the resolve of the union to stop the government from what it described as the sell-off of some leading schools in the state, under the pretext of a public/private partnership initiative, saying the union would not surrender to the blackmail by the state government.
In a statement signed by both Daramola and the auditor of the congress, Comrade M.A. Badiru, they enjoined members of the public to join in the campaign.
They listed their five demands as, “unconditional release of the NLC chairman and six other labour leaders; immediate withdrawal of all trumped up charges levelled against the incarcerated labour leaders; rescinding the decision to sell-off any public schools in the state; proper and adequate funding of the education sector, including payment of living wages and other incentive for educational workers and the immediate payment of six months’ outstanding salaries and all pension arrears.”
Explaining the role of the union on its take on the exercise, Daramola stated that “returning schools to ‘former owners,’ alumni associations, individual alumni and alumnae ‘stakeholders,’ etc., as being claimed by the Oyo State government is tantamount to the privatisation of education, which in principle and practice, negates and contradicts the resolution of the UNESCO to which our country is a signatory. Privatisation of education will, no doubt, amount to commercialisation of education which will definitely, sooner or later, take education beyond the reach of children of the masses of Oyo State.
“This deviates from the UBE Act signed into law by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2003. According to this law, every child must be accorded the right to education without any form of hindrance under whatever guise.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Oyo State branch, has dissociated itself from a statement purportedly credited to the chairman of the Oyo State Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Comrade Olusola Ogundiran, which dissociated the body from the peaceful protest staged by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State chapter, on Wednesday, 1st June, 2016.
NULGE, in a statement signed by its Principal Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Adetola Joseph Oguntimehin, said: “NULGE, Oyo State branch, as a bonafide member of Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), condemn in strong terms, the statement credited to Comrade Ogundiran and view such statement as an expression of his personal opinion and not of the members/affiliates of JNC in Oyo State.”