By Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Tuesday declared the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecommunication giant, MTN, as the greatest threat to Nigeria’s national security.
It observed that given the activities of MTN and NCC as collaborator, the two organisations portend great threat to the nation’s security.
The body stated this while responding to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, explaining the reasons for picketing MTN.
The NLC and MTN have been at loggerheads over the latter’s anti-labour policies in its operations in Nigeria as opposed to global standards.
According to the NLC President Ayuba Wabba, since MTN Nigeria commenced operations in the country, it had been in clear violation of extant national and international labour laws, especially the ILO Conventions 87 and 98, denying workers their fundamental rights at work.
He accused MTN of engaging in “other anti-labour practices such as casualisation for nearly all types of work, fixed-term contract work for Nigerian workers, worst forms of precarious work, etc”.
“It is on record that the Nigeria Labour Congress on several occasions protested to the MTN and government about these unwholesome practices without a reasonable response.
“The rush by NCC to report NLC to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is both hypocritical and suspect. But we do know who plays the piper, dictates the tune. NCC did not see anything wrong with hosting critical data outside Nigeria or with continual loss of jobs by Nigerians in spite of the unspeakable money made and repatriated by telecom operators.
“It did not see anything wrong with the violation of Nigerian laws, Labour laws or security breaches leading to the loss of lives of security personnel, not to talk about humongous illicit financial flows as highlighted in the Thabo Mbeki Report which continue to undermine our national wellbeing or security.
“In our estimation, the greatest threat to Nigeria’s national security is not by Nigerian workers but the bullish and arrogant attitude of MTN and its co-travellers or collaborators like the NCC.
“It is for this reason we invite the attention and intervention of government and select government agencies including the telecoms regulatory agency, the NCC, EFCC, the Immigration and DSS,” Wabba stated.
The NLC explained that given the conspiracy of NCC, the union was preparing to picket the commission soon.
He said: “Accordingly, we wish to put NCC on notice that we will picket it the way we picketed MTN if it continues to discharge its duties in the breach. Let it continue with its amebo instead of doing the work for which it is established.
“A perfunctory look at MTN’s global activities and earnings confirms our assertion that proceeds from MTN Nigeria are used to run the global MTN. Where therefore does this arrogance come from?”
They also warned that the three-day picket represents the first step in the series of lawful actions which NLC will be taking against companies that act in breach of national and international labour laws and the nation’s national interest.