- The minister of labour and employment has been accused of sitting on the implentation of the new minimum wage
- The Nigerian Labour Congress alleged the infringement of workers’ rights by Senator Chris Ngige
- According to the NLC leaders, Ngige replaced the name of Chief Frank Kokori with Mr Austin Enejamo-Isire as chairman of board of the NSITF
The organised labour on Monday, May 13, protested the infringement of workers’ rights by Senator Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment.
Ayuba Wabba, the president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the protest was to express their grievance against workers treatment during a rally at the resident of Ngige on Wednesday in Abuja.
Wabba alleged that Ngige was sitting on the implementation of the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
The protesting workers held placards with inscriptions like `Workers rights to peaceful protest and picketing are not negotiable’ and ‘Picketing is lawful while thuggery is a crime’, among others.
NLC had allegedly that the minister replaced the name of Chief Frank Kokori with Mr Austin Enejamo-Isire as chairman of board of the NSITF.
The picketing of the minister’s residence by the labour using two petroleum tankers to block the entrance and exit points had resulted to clashes between alleged thugs and the labour officials.
The labour, who vowed to ensure the inauguration of Kokori as NSITF chairman, had called for international labour actions against the minister over the incident.
However, a statement by Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, in Abuja on Sunday, May 12, expressed regret over the misunderstanding between the labour and the minister on the matter.
The statement also clarified that Enejamo-Isire was appointed as chairman NSITF board by the president and the inauguration of the board was scheduled for May 13.
Wabba however, said that workers should not be denied the right to picket to address irregularities.
“I think we will be so happy that Kokori being one of us has exhibited a very transparent life that the political elites and the anti political system are actually afraid that he is going to exposed a lot of things.
“If there has been corruption in the system, we need somebody that is anti-corrupt to stop the corruption and also address the issues.
“Clearly this is the missing link and therefore nobody can deny your rights and no system can deny us the right to peaceful protest, no system can deny us the right of picketing,‘’ he said.
Also, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, President of the Academic Staff Unions of Universities (ASUU) said attack on workers was an attempt to erode democracy in Nigeria.
“We need people that can call leaders to account for their actions. The government on its own approached Kokori in order to pudge NSITF of corrupt tendencies.
“We call on President Buhari to set up a powerful investigative panel to investigate the attack on workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Ngige had threatened legal action against members of the NLC for 'waking him up' in the past week during their protest at his Abuja residence.
Ngige said he was woken up from his sleep around 5 am on Wednesday, May 8, when members of the NLC led by their president Ayuba Wabba stormed his residence with petrol laden truck in protest.
The minister said his wife had informed him that their security guards were having issues with some strange fellows at the gate house.
He also said his wife noted that some people who arrived the vicinity at about 4.30 am the same day were on the walls of his house.
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