Thursday, 23 May 2013
JAF, Workers Unions, Human Rights Groups Join Motorbike Operators to Protest Lagos Ban; JAF Advocates System Change
Pro-labour welfare movements, labour unions and civil society groups today expressed their solidarity with the motorbike operators’ union which is protesting the recent ban on them by the Lagos State government preventing operation on major streets of Lagos.
In a symposium organized by the Joint Action Front [JAF] at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Secretariat in Lagos, the NLC, Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU], Nigeria Union of Teachers [NUT], Nigeria Medical Association [NMA], Center for the Defense of Human Rights [CDHR] and United Action for Democracy [UAD] jointly condemned the implementation of what they called a cruel law.
They criticized the government for implementing the new regulation without due consultation or provision of a social safety net before phasing out operators of commercial motorbikes in the State.
The counsel to the motorbike operators in a suit brought against the Lagos State Government for the ban, Barrister Bamidele Aturu, accused the government of trying to copy the advanced cities of the world at the expense of the poor people of Lagos State.
Evaluating the policies of the current Lagos State Government since inception, the civil society bodies and workers’ unions described the government as an anti-people administration.
Although the symposium was convened to assess the myriad problems confronting the nation including the recent flooding in some parts of the country which rendered many people homeless, the Lagos State ban on commercial motorbikes dominated the discussion.
Moderated by Dr. Dipo Fashina, the meeting, which lasted more than four hours, resolved to protest the ban and resist further anti-people laws being promulgated by the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN] in the State.
JAF announced that it would mobilize the masses to protest the ban, and condemned the call by the Lagos State Governor on the military to deal ruthlessly with the poor motorbike operators wherever they are seen in the restricted areas.
JAF called for system change, accusing Governor Babatunde Fashola of militarizing the State and stressing that it took a lot of civil struggle to rid governance in Nigeria of the military.
Other civil society groups at the symposium include Community Network Alliance [COMNET], Moshood Abiola Vanguard for Democracy [MAVD] and Social Workers Link.