Wednesday, 30 July 2014



Press Statement

We of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers' Rights (CDWR) support the ongoing strike action of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria with the demand on the state governments to obey the judgment delivered by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which ordered the states to comply with financial independence of the state judiciary. We call on all state governments to comply as the demand of the union is part of the working class struggle to deepen democracy.

We condemn in the strongest terms the pillaging of financial resources meant for the state judiciary by the state Governors and call for independent running of the state judiciary under the democratic control of all interest groups in the judiciary including representatives of judicial workers. We commend the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for extending solidarity to the union.

The judgment of the court delivered by Honorable Justice A.F.A Ademola of the Federal High Court in January 2014 directed that funds meant for state judiciary as allocations from the Federation/Consolidated Revenue Fund should be paid directly to heads of the state courts. The court also declared as unconstitutional, null and void the piece-meal payments/allocations of funds through the Ministries of Finance in the states to the state judiciary at the pleasure of state Governors.

However, the financial autonomy of the judiciary will mean fundamentally nothing if it does not translate into improved welfare and conditions of the judicial workers. We therefore call on the leadership of the union to link the demand of the strike to the living standards of their rank and file members to include such demands on wages, pension, study leave, among others. The fact that the strike enjoys nationwide support of the rank and file of the union including the federal court workers further shows the need to widen the demands.

Also importantly, the union leadership must carefully explain the basis for the demand of the strike to the wider public and establish its link with wider access to justice for all. This approach in addition to organizing mass sensitisation rallies will help the strike to win the demands.

However, given the current lopsided capitalist system, the judiciary cannot be truly independent to protect the fundamental interests of the working masses without a conscious struggle to bring out a social revolution under which the working people can democratically control the judiciary. This is why we of the CDWR advocate that the trade unions build a genuine working people's political alternative to fight for a working class socialist solution and strategy for the proper running of society

Chinedu Bosah

Publicity Secretary

Wednesday, 9 July 2014



We of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemn in strong terms the burning of mass transit buses by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in Lagos on Friday, July 4, 2014. We see this barbaric action as the continuation of attacks on democratic rights by security operatives. In the last few months we have witnessed brutal repression of press and protesters as well as killing of innocent citizens by soldiers and police officers with impunity.

According to media reports, all hell was let loose when the soldiers were protesting the killing of their colleague, one Matthew Ishaya by a BRT bus driver. Scores of the BRT buses were burnt and many people were left injured. We consider appalling the unashamed denial of the involvement of soldiers in this mayhem by the army authorities in spite of overwhelming evidence. The CDWR calls for the identification of the soldiers responsible for this madness and their immediate prosecution.

We also condemn reckless driving by some BRT drivers who have caused many injuries and deaths. We however blame this on the law enforcement agents like Police and the Lagos state owned LASTMA who usually turn a blind eye to the infraction of traffic rules by some BRT drivers. We note that these enforcement agents readily pounce, albeit in most cases for self-serving purpose, on private motorists and commercial bus drivers for offences of even lesser degree than what some BRT drivers commit with impunity.      
We equally condemn the attack by these uncouth, rampaging soldiers on journalists and curious citizens taking photographs of the arson. We consider this as an attack on the democratic rights of the working people.

We call on labour leadership not only to condemn this barbarism but also begin to build mass resistance against the growing relapse into military brutality and despotism.

Chinedu Bosah
Publicity Secretary

Monday, 7 July 2014




The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has embarked on indefinite strike since July 1, 2014 to press home their 24 demands. Some of the demands are: Increment in duty specialist and hazard allowance, budget for residency training, reserving the position of Chief Medical Director (CMD) to only medical doctors, appointment of surgeon General of the Federation, reserving the title of consultants to only medical doctors and 100% Universal Health coverage for Nigerians amongst others.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) supports all agitations and struggles aimed at improving the working condition of workers and guaranteeing free and quality service to the general public. However, we strongly feel that some of the demands upon which the ongoing indefinite strike is premised is reactionary and divisive, and will not help the struggle to defend the interest of workers and the general public. Rather, it will continue to create an unhealthy rivalry amongst health workers and give the government the needed advantage to continue to undermine the interest of workers and the general public.
We hold that it is the top-down bureaucracy, anti-workers managerial policies and underfunding that should be blamed for the decay and chaos in the health sector and not which professional holds a particular title or position.  

CDWR feels strongly that whoever holds the title of a consultant or occupies the CMD’s position should not be an issue except where the holder is not qualified or competent. The appointments of CMDs are usually done for political expediencies without consideration for advancing medical profession and the health sector. In a country where the health sector is underfunded by government like other key sectors of the economy, the government-appointed CMDs usually defend the interest of the government at the expense of workers and public. Reducing the CMD’s position to a profession will not resolve the crisis in the health sector. Rather, it will only satisfy the ego of a particular profession.Hence, we appeal to NMA to withdraw all demands that breed rivalry between it and other professionals, and pursue the overall interest of the health sector.

There is no profession that is not important in any industry since no profession is an island. The management of any multi-disciplined establishment should not be the prerogative of a profession. Managerial or administrative function should not be decided on the basis of profession but by competence. Medical doctors have held the post of CMDs and of the Minister of Health, but it will be wrong to ascribe the failure of public hospitals and health sector to medical doctor as a profession.

The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) is also in error to have stated that professional groups like NMA cannot engage the government in labour disputes because they are not trade unions. Professional groups like NMA have the right to engage government in the interest of their members and the general public they serve.
The CDWR is of the view that every public hospital should be run democratically by elected committee of workers representing all professions, government appointees and the communities. The committee members should be subject to recall if the elected representative are not performing or not defending the interest of workers. This arrangement would have carried all segments of the workforce along as well as ensuring transparent and effective management of the hospitals. We strongly feel that all workers/professionals in the health sector should look at the overall picture aimed at defending the interest of the sector as well as the general public.

Chinedu Bosah
Publicity Secretary