Nigerian aviation workers embark on protest over legislation

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ABUJA, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian aviation workers on Monday commenced a nationwide peaceful demonstration, calling on the government to expunge an alleged "repressive" clause in the legislation prohibiting trade unions in the sector from protests.

The aviation workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), also issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government ahead of a planned nationwide strike, threatening to ground operations across the country's airports.

The protests Monday were held simultaneously in all cities in Nigeria, including Abuja, the political capital, and Lagos, the economic hub, said Ben Nnabue, president of the NUATE, while briefing reporters in Lagos.

Unknown persons had inserted the "obnoxious clause" in the new aviation bill currently waiting to be assented to by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the NUATE leader alleged, hinting that the striking workers were ready for an industrial action blocking operations in all Nigerian airports until that clause is removed.

"Last year, we went to the national parliament to amend the act establishing the aviation agencies so that it would be more progressive. We found out that there was one obnoxious clause that talked about trade unions not going on strike, so we have to fight for them to remove it. That is the whole idea," Nnabue said. "We were shocked that before they sent it to the president for assent, those clauses were maliciously inserted."

In Abuja, the protesting workers marched to the city center and up to the Federal Secretariat housing multiple government buildings, carrying placards with warning inscriptions to press home their demands. The protest in Lagos, meanwhile, led to a traffic gridlock amid heavy rainfall. Enditem

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