Article from www.nigeriasolidarity.org --- Campaign for Democratic and Workers' Rights in Nigeria



The impending police strike

Press release
15 February 2006

THE IMPENDING POLICE STRIKE:
- THE STRIKE IS CONSTITUTIONAL
- GOVERNMENT SHOULD MEET THE DEMANDS OF THE POLICE OFFICERS
- LABOUR AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD SUPPORT THE ACTION
- DEMOCRATIC MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF POLICE FORCE BY WORKING PEOPLE IS IMPERATIVE

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) fully gives its solidarity and support to the impending strike of junior ands senior police officers, called under the aegis of National Union of Police (NUP), slated for February 20, 2006 or later in near future.

We, however, urge the Federal Government to immediately address their genuine demands so as to avert the strike, instead of using crude method of dismissal and prosecution threats against NUP leadership in order to break the strike, thereby leaving the problems unattended to.

We are of strong opinion that all issues and demands raised for the strike are genuine without which effective policing is unattainable. Just like what obtains in other sectors, the welfare and working conditions of the rank and file police officers have been ever deteriorating. For instance, a police constable takes N8, 700 (US$ 67) only as monthly salary. There is no way a police officer living and working under deplorable condition will not be corrupt in order to augment the peanuts called monthly salary.

We support the right of every worker, including police and all armed forces, to form and belong to a trade union of their choice to fight for their rights as explicitly stated in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For avoidance of doubt, section 40 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states, "Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest". We therefore welcome the birth of National Union of Police (NUP) as an expression of the democratic rights of police officers within the framework of the Nigerian Constitution.

CDWR therefore supports all NUP demands for improved living and working conditions and will do everything within its power to support the impending police strike. We also call on the labour and civil society organisations to support the struggle of the police officers.

However, we call for the democratic management and control of the entire police force and its activities, including welfare and deployment, by the working people of the communities whose lives and properties they are ostensibly meant to secure. This is to ensure that the police is made to truly serve the interests of the working people and the communities as against the prevailing situation where the police is used as an apparatus of repression of the democratic and human rights of the poor masses by the government or the ruling elite.

Rufus Olusesan
Chairman

Victor Osakwe
Secretary