Labour Party petitions FG, ministers, others over vandalisation of party offices by NLC

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By Lanre Oloyede

Labour Party (LP) has formally petitioned relevant government institutions over the invasion of its premises by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

In the petition, the party requested urgent intervention to protect its interests and called for disciplinary measures against the President of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and other union leaders.

In letters addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Minister of Labour and Employment, and the Registrar of Trade Unions, the party leadership, represented by Chairman Barrister Julius Abure and National Secretary Alhaji Umar Farouk Ibrahim, outlined their concerns.

According to the Labour Party, Comrade Ajaero has misused workers’ funds to orchestrate picketing and insurrection at the Labour Party headquarters, which constitutes an abuse of office.

The party asserted that such actions should be met with appropriate sanctions.

Part of the letter read, “It has become unavoidably necessary to request for your urgent intervention, being the Regulatory Agency for trade unions including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has over the years engaged in a war of attrition with our party. It came to a head and unbearable when the NLC under the leadership of Comrade Joe Ajeoro directed the picketing of our party’s National Headquarters and our chapter offices across the country. The unwarranted attack in our office resulted in the destruction of several properties.

“The NLC claims to be owners of the party and therefore wants to impose the leadership of the party, exerts overwhelming control to achieve a political end. It must be pointed out that once a Political Party is registered by INEC it becomes a body corporate with a perpetual succession and a common seal (see the letter of INEC to NLC dated 3rd September 2015) where INEC stated clearly that the NLC has no superior status.

“Section 77 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that, a Political Party once registered has a life of its own and it is only regulated by its constitution. It is imperative to note that by the import of the above provisions, whosoever plays any role whatsoever in the registration of the party becomes immaterial. The party will thereafter be regulated by its constitution.

“It should be noted that Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) prohibits any association from contributing to the funds of any Political Party. It is a criminal offence under section 15 of the Trade Union Act to use Trade Unions Funds whether directly or indirectly to fund a Political Party.

“It is our arguments that using workers funds to picket and sponsor insurrection in the Labour Party headquarters and its legitimate leadership is an abuse of office by the Presidents of the NLC Comrade Joe Ajaero and should therefore be called to order and properly sanctioned.

“Similarly, the NLC has no right to picket an organization where there is no trade dispute. The Labour Party has no staff who are members of the NLC. The actions of the NLC is a clear violation of the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act, the Trade Union Act and other relevant laws.”