By Godson Ikiebey-
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged workers in the nation’s airports and those in the 163 countries that are members of the International Trade Union Confederation to subject the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, to ridicule.
According to the NLC, it called for the action because Ngige invited thugs against workers during a “lawful protest” to his house.
The Congress made this known after its Central Working Committee meeting on Thursday evening, May 9, 2019.
It demanded an “unreserved apology from the minister, for his action.
In his brief with journalists after the meeting, the national president of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the actions of the minister was a clear indication that he was not fit to occupy public office. He said:
”He is not fit to be a minister. He has no reason to be called minister of labour. He is a lord of his own and therefore instead of protecting us, he is against us.
“Therefore we have nothing to do with him under the circumstance.
“NLC has sent messages to all workers in the 163 countries who are members of the ITUC to embarrass the minister and members of his family anywhere they are seen, especially at airports where workers operates”.
Wabba said the minister has no right to change the appointment made by the president on the excuse that he never recommended Frank Kokori to head the NSITF board.
“The real reason he is opposed to Chief Kokori was because the veteran labour leader cannot be compromised. Since the minister has been talking about the issue of corruption in the NSITF, the government should put in place a judicial commission of enquiry to investigate the agency so as to unravel who the actual corrupt persons are”.
Wabba asked, “who are the actual corrupt people in NSITF? Is it the board that has not been inaugurated or it is the minister?”
While speaking on the criticism that followed the decision of the congress to picket the minister’s residence, Wabba said the minister is a public officer, holding a public office. Until he leaves office, even his house is a public place.
“In any case, he has abandoned his office and has been operating from his house. The house has been his second office for some time now and he has been avoiding any place where he will come in contact with us”.
The NLC president said that the money in NSITF belongs to workers because it is a contribution of employers to take care of the social needs of their workers.
“That is the only reason why Labour and NECA have two members each, on the Board. Even the ministry of labour has only one member. So, we are demanding that the Board, headed by Kokori, be inaugurated and all the thugs who attacked us in the full glare of security agents be investigated and prosecuted”.
The NLC president said the national protest will be restricted to Abuja for now and asked all affiliates and state councils to begin to mobilise their members ahead of the protest.