The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) observes with sadness and concern, the unfolding developments around the planned industrial action by the Nigerian Labour Congress and its affiliate unions.
We note that this action by the Unions is impelled by the recent hike in electricity tariff, petroleum prices coupled with other harsh economic policies of the Federal Government. The resultant drop in living standards and magnification of poverty and social disadvantage should attract the attention of all well –meaning Nigerians especially political office holders.
We would like to reiterate our principled position, consistent with our values and ethos, as follows:
- Even though some of the belt-tightening economic policies are compelling, the government at Federal and State levels along with their respective legislatures' profligate and squandering ways, have no moral standing to continue imposing more hardship on the long-suffering citizens of Nigeria, while not showing beyond reasonable doubt, expertise that will engender confidence in their policies;
- We support all legitimate efforts to make the Federal Government see reason and consider the well-being of Nigerians over the recent increase in PMS price and electricity tariff;
- That the rights of ordinary citizens to association and expression of their civic rights are inalienable and should not be trammelled by judicial ruse;
- That the Police do not have the power to grant or withdraw the right to peaceful protest from ordinary citizens, in whichever configuration they might choose, to associate for the purpose of demonstrating their concerns;
- That the underlying issues of increasing economic and social hardship, especially runaway inflation and a widening gap between wages and cost of living, must be addressed, urgently;
- That as part of the overall strategy for addressing the present unsustainable recurrent expenditure at all levels of governance, federal and state levels must commit to their reduction in size and ensure that the political class leads the way in making national sacrifices before demanding more of such sacrifices from the long-suffering people of Nigeria;
- That negotiation between the various governments and labour unions should be honest and focus on the welfare of the ordinary citizen-worker. There should be absolutely no room for 'back-door' deals;
- That the security agencies should show restraint and avoid all unlawful exercise of coercion or violence against citizens on a peaceful protest;
- Our law enforcement agents are reminded of their corporate and individual obligations to respect the rights of our citizens and ensure that they observe the relevant local laws and international treaties when discharging their duties;
- We enjoin the leadership of the unions to take all necessary precaution and care to ensure that their protest is peaceful and devoid of any abuse of the citizens' right to protest. They must not allow their cause to be hijacked by miscreants who may use this as a guise to loot and destroy;
The National Association of Seadogs will continue to advocate good governance, lawful, peaceful citizenry and the fundamental and universal human rights of Nigerians are upheld at all times.