- A bill proposing a five-year jail term for unlawful protesters in the country recently passed first reading at the House of Representatives
- The bill sparked outrage across the country with many Nigerians condemning the bill proposed by a lawmaker from Imo state
- The Nigeria Labour Congress President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has revealed the stance of the labour unions on the issue
FCT, Abuja - The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and International Trade Union Congress President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has reacted to a bill proposing a five-year jail term for unlawful protesters in Nigeria which has passed first reading at the House of Representatives.
Comrade Wabba who spoke to Legit.ng on the sidelines of an event in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Thursday, July 8, said the NLC has already intervened and opposed the bill.
Wabba hints at what NLC would do
“We are expecting that there will be a public hearing. First is that we have already written to say that law infringes on the rights of Nigerians and these rights are universal rights. All around the world, the right to protest is a universal right that cannot be abridged.
“Many of our political elites have exercised that right in the past so why do they want to deny Nigerians that now. It's a misplaced priority. It is not necessary, we don't need that.
“If you have peace and tranquility, then there will be peace everywhere. But when you infringe on people's rights and say they should not come out, you're infringing on their rights itself.
“So, basically, we hope that there will be an opportunity to speak to the bill and enlighten them so they are aware of the danger. You don't cross a bridge and then try to cut the bridge because you may have a reason to go back.”
NLC's role in fighting corruption
Recall that Comrade Wabba was part of a dialogue involving labour and trade union leaders in Abuja at an event organised by Say No Campaign Nigeria, a platform of Nigerians committed to fighting corruption.
The theme of the event supported by the MacArthur Foundation and attended by a Legit.ng reporter was: Positioning the unions as active drivers of anti-corruption in Nigeria.
At the event, Comrade Wabba stated that the NLC has been a very active driver in Nigeria's anti-corruption campaign.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that Say No Campaign Nigeria has taken its campaign for community participation in the fight against corruption to about seven states so far.
The organisation has assembled round-table dialogues that sought to bring together trade unions and labour advocates to redefine the public service sector for efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
The dialogues are also geared towards deepening the focus of the union leaders on anti-corruption, offering encouragement, and providing networking opportunities in the struggle against the rampant abuse of public office.