PENGASSAN Condemns Attack On NLC President, Says It’s Threat To Nigeria’s Trade Union Movement

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), as a leading advocate for workers’ rights and social justice, strongly condemned the recent attack on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Joe Ajaero.

A statement jointly signed on Friday by PENGASSAN’s President, Comrade Festus Osifo and it’s General Secretary, Comrade Lumumba Okhugbawa described the NLC President as a prominent union leader and an advocate for the rights of workers.

PENGASSAN described the attack which occurred on Wednesday 1st of November 2023 in Owerri, Imo State capital as a blatant violation of human rights and an assault on the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and association.

PENGASSAN said that Comrade Ajaero had been actively involved in promoting fair labor practices, advocating for better working conditions, and ensuring that workers’ rights were protected and his tireless efforts had contributed significantly to the improvement of workers’ lives and the advancement of social justice in the country.

PENGASSAN said that violence against union leaders or any individuals fighting for the rights of workers was not only an attack on them personally but also undermined the fundamental of social dialogue and activism.

These acts of violence seek to silence the voices of those who speak up for the vulnerable and marginalized, and they must be vehemently condemned by the society as a whole.

PENGASSAN therefore demanded that the authorities conduct a thorough investigation into this cowardly attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

PENGASSAN said: “We call on law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of all workers, activists and union leaders, providing them with the necessary protection to carry out their essential duties without fear of reprisal.

“We also urge civil society organizations, trade unions, and citizens to stand in solidarity with NLC and Comrade Joe Ajaero and to denounce this act of violence.

“It is crucial that we collectively reject any attempts to suppress voices that advocate for the rights and well-being of workers and fight for a more equitable society.

“Our noble Association stands in solidarity with our ally in the struggle, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and expresses deep concern for his well-being and recovery.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to support the rights of workers, advocate for social justice, and combat any form of violence or repression that seeks to curtail the progress we have made thus far.

“All PENGASSAN members are hereby put on red alert as the days ahead will be stormy and tumultuous.

“We urge all trade unions and the two labour centers to respond to this ugly act in a very drastic way because injury to one is truly an injury to all.”

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