This week the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC)—which together represent millions of workers—along with civil-society organizations, presented a joint statement rejecting the “hate campaigns” that calling for secession in the northern part of the country. “We Are One for Nigeria,” they said.
Describing themselves as a pan-Nigeria force rejecting the drumbeats of war, the unions and civil society groups issuing the statement said that a physical conflict would, “hurt us all, most particularly workers” and that a divided Nigeria does not serve workers. The statement went on to call on all Nigerians of any faith, political bent, gender and ethnicity to, “stand up with one voice and fight those promoting division.”
The workers’ statement came in response to rising political tensions in the country, after a coalition of activist groups in northern Nigeria, known as the Northern Youth Groups, demanded that all members of the one of Nigeria’s main ethnic groups, the Igbo, leave northern Nigeria within three months or face forced expulsion. For some Nigerians, calls for secession are reminiscent of the bloody Nigerian civil war a half century ago, during which at least 1 million people died.