Human Rights Group Call For Arrest of Leaders of Electricity Workers for Leading ‘Illegal Strike’
A human rights group, the Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), has called for the arrest of the leaders of aggrieved electricity workers in Nigeria who plunged the nation into total darkness when they embarked on a strike action last week.
The striking workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had shut down a number of power supply stations across the country to protest, among others, the directive by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) board that all principal managers in acting capacity must undergo a promotion interview before getting promoted to acting general manager.
In a memo to the Attorney-General of the federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the group urged him to direct the arrest and prosecution of electricity union workers for embarking on strike action on August 17 knowing fully well that they render essential service to the nation.
Meanwhile the strike action had been called off at the weekend following the truce reached in a meeting with the minister of labour, Dr. Chris Ngige.
He CASER’s statement signed by he executive director, Mr. Frank Tietie Esq stressed that the strike action was an act of terrorism on the nation. He argued that it is unconstitutional for trade unions and workers in the essential services sector to embark on such actions.
The group statement read; “What the electricity workers who went on strike have failed to realize is that their strike action on the 17th of August, 2022 amounted to an act of terrorism against the Nigerian State and that they are therefore liable to be punished with life imprisonment on conviction according to the combined provisions of Section 1 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act (as Amended).
“The section defines an “act of terrorism” to include any act deliberately done with malice, aforethought and which : (a) may seriously harm or damage a country or an international organization ; (b) is intended or can reasonably be regarded as having been intended to— (i) unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act; (ii) seriously intimidate a population ; (iii) seriously destabilize, or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic, social structures of a country or an international organization ; or, (iv) otherwise influence such government or international organization by intimidation or coercion; and (c) involves , as the case may be, the interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life.”
Tietie said irrespective of the genuineness of the demands of any Nigerian workers union, the Nigerian law restrains them from strike actions capable of crippling the economy.
He urged the AGF to use his office to enforce legal provisions against illegal strikes embarked upon by the electricity workers.