Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM


The President
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)
Comrade President,

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) wishes to report to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) the ongoing prosecution and persecution of Abiodun Bamigboye, also known as Abbey Trotsky, who is the Oyo State Coordinator of the CDWR and the Acting National Chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and call for the intervention of the Congress.
The CDWR is a pro-labour organization which supports struggles of workers and trade unions for decent condition and decent pay as well as respect for labour laws and the right to a trade union and freedom of association.
The persecution of Abbey Trotsky was orchestrated by Sumal Foods Ibadan after he led the CDWR members to intervene in solidarity with the casual workers of the company who embarked on strike and peaceful protest on October 2nd and 3rd 2018 against poor working conditions and poor pay. It is even more disturbing that the leadership of the food union (NUFBTE) in the company connive with the management to use the police and DSS to unleash a series of attacks on Abbey Trotsky. However, this is not surprising as some the union leaders reportedly, wholly or partly, own some of the outsourcing companies which recruit casual workers for Sumal Foods and others.
Sumal Foods engages in anti-labour practices such as contract staffing and casualization as a means of enslaving Nigerian workers in order to make fat profit. These casual workers are not entitled to benefits or allowances that improve working and living conditions. They are denied the right to minimum wage and the right to join a trade union. Moreover, they are susceptible to sack anytime without disengagement pay.
Sumal Foods is largely a biscuit and confectionery company located in Ibadan. Prior to the aforementioned October 2nd, peaceful protest, the company had over 10,000 workers with casual workers constituting 75% of the workforce. The casual workers were paid between N800 and N925 daily depending on the production line; daily work hours were between 9 and 12 hours and not entitled to break time and safety work tools. This is just a glimpse of the precious working condition the casual workers in the company often compel to work until the management was forced by the said peace protest to concede to 30 minutes break time and increased the salary to between N1200 and N1250 daily.
Following the said solidarity intervention by the CDWR, the Nigeria Police and DSS at the instance of Sumal Foods management, separately subjected Abbey Trotsky to different arrests and detentions; altogether 8 times between the 19th of December 2018 and the 7th of June 2019. Indeed, the office of the AIG Zone 11 Osogbo Osun State forced Abbey Trotsky to report weekly Sadly, during the weekly visit to the AIG Zone 11 office, some branch and Oyo state officers of NUFBTE (food union) unashamedly joined the management team to bear false witness against Abbey Trotsky. He was eventually arraigned at Iyaganku Magistrate Court on 7th June 2019 first on four-count criminal charges but later increased to an eight-count charge.
The criminal case at the Magistrate Court has been sustained for over 4 and years and 6 months. The matter has had seventeen adjournments, seven re-arraignments, and 6 presiding Magistrates. The last sitting happened on December 20, 2023, under a new Chief Magistrate, Modupe Ogunsakin, during which Abbey was re-arraigned again. The matter has now been adjourned to February 20th, 2024.
Curiously, at the December 20th sitting Abbey Trotsky for the first time was denied the opportunity to continue to enjoy his previous bail conditions following a new re-arraignment. The basis for this denial by the Chief Magistrate despite the application for such by the police prosecutor was that the previous bail bond couldn’t be found in Abbey Trotsky’s case file, and hence ordered Abbey to be remanded in prison. It took the intervention of the Oyo State Chapter of the NLC and other activists before the new bail was perfected and the planned remand was forestalled.
Aside from the criminal case at the Magistrate Court, ten outsourcing companies instituted one civil case at the National Industrial Court while another civil case was instituted by Sumal Foods and the Food Union. However, while the one instituted by the Food Union and Sumal Foods management has been withdrawn in 2023 that of the outsourcing companies is still pending at the Industrial Court. These companies recruited thousands of workers used as casual labour for Sumal Foods. The casual workers claimed that some NUFBTE leaders and key management staff have vested interests in the outsourcing companies.
The CDWR hereby calls on the NLC to intervene in this matter with a view of prevailing on the NUFBTE leadership to end their participation in the witch-hunt and persecution of Abbey, something which is a reprehensible and irresponsible action. In particular, we call for a drop of all charges against him. We strongly feel that NUFBTE and CDWR should work together to jointly defend workers’ interests at all times. This collaboration has been demonstrated at the central level wherein the NLC has had cause at different times to work together with civil society organisations to prosecute struggles in defense of the interest of Nigerian workers. Hence, there is a very good basis for such collaboration to equally exist at workplace level to reinforce the struggles of workers against unfair labour practices and poor condition.
Besides, workers and labour leaders in Oyo state can attest to Abbey Trotsky’s unflinching solidarity and active participation in all struggles of the labour movement particularly the NLC in Oyo State. He and comrades of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and CDWR in Oyo State have always helped to build strikes, popularize workers struggles and mobilize alongside workers leaders for mass actions aimed at defending workers interests or defeating any government anti-poor policies. As a result, he is always sought after by workers’ leaders anytime struggle beckons. You will agree with us that such an individual who has always been very supportive of workers and NLC’s struggles does not deserve this kind of persecution. This is why we feel it is incumbent on the leadership of the NLC to wade into this issue with a view to finding an amicable resolution that can lead to a halt to the prosecution and persecution of Abbey Trotsky.
The CDWR also wish to use this opportunity to urge the NLC leadership to commence urgently its plan to resuscitate the anti-casualisation campaign aimed at fighting indecent and anti-labour employment policies. We recall that the Congress President Comrade Joe Ajaero had meetings shortly after assuming office with some industrial unions’ leaders with a promise to fight the scourge of casualization. We hold that this is more reason that the Congress should intervene in the case of Abbey Trotsky who is being persecuted because of his support for the struggle and demands of casual workers for better condition.

By and large, we of the CDWR have remained committed to the anti-casualisation struggle despite the travail of a leading member and are prepared to give the required support to any action at all levels of the trade union movement aimed at challenging and ending causalisation and all forms of anti-labour practices.
We are open to attending meetings facilitated by the NLC in the process of addressing the issues raised.
Thank you,
Yours fraternally,

Comrade Rufus Olusesan
National Chairperson

Comrade Chinedu Bosah
National Secretary

Email: [email protected]

Cc: The Oyo State Chairperson of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)