The highest decision making bodies of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Central Working Committee (CWC) and National Administrative Council (NAC), rose from their emergency meeting on Thursday, with a directive to their members to lay siege on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and attack him wherever they may find him.
They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the minister as his action of deploying thugs to attack labour leaders depict him as being unfit to occupy the position.
Labour also resolved to stage a national protest next week, Monday following the attack on its members.
Recall that the unionists, under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), had stormed the private residence of the minister, located at Justice Muhammed Nasir Street, Asokoro, where they used heavy duty vehicles allegedly containing premium motor spirit (PMS) to block the access gate to the building.
However, things turned sour when thugs, allegedly on the orders of the minister, beat up some of the labour leaders, including some of their members, in a bid to disperse them.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke on behalf of the Central Working Committee (CWC) demanded an unreserved apology from the labour minister.
He said, “Apart from condemnation we demand full investigation of everybody that is involved. CWC demand an unconditional and unqualified reserved apology from Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, and by extension government, both for the primitive behaviour of the minister and his suspicious silence.
“Clearly this has demonstrated why labour issues have not received the required attention they deserved. The CWC, therefore, resolved to hold Chris Ngige and his family personally responsible for the violence visited on the workers that were injured and we have also directed all our workers particularly at the airports in Nigeria and around the world that where ever he is seen he should also receive the same disgrace particularly in the diaspora where ITUC operates and the 163 countries where ITUC has members. At all the airports, his name and identity has already been circulated and the same disgrace be extended to him and members of his family.
“The CWC calls for the arrest and prosecution of the thugs immediately and also their sponsors which is well known.
“We demand that Mr. President should also exit people like Ngige, he has not demonstrated enough capacity, he has not demonstrated enough will, and he has not conformed to the tradition that all of us are known for.
“Certainly people like Ngige are not fit to hold public office, because by our laws he is supposed to be the chief conciliator and therefore if chief conciliator should descend so low to be attacking his constituents, his social partners in a situation that is unwarranted and is condemnable. No excuse can be given for that”.
The NLC president insisted that picketing the official residence and office of the minister is lawful because he is a public officer holding public office.
Besides, he said the protest was carried out on a public space as it was done outside the minister’s fenced house.
Wabba insisted that labour will continue to insist that Frank Kokori be inaugurated as chairman of the board of NSITF.