The disagreement between the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige turned bloody yesterday in Abuja. Labour is annoyed by the minister’s refusal to inaugurate the Frank Kokori-led board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF.
As early as 6.00am, labour leaders mobilized members to the house of the minister located opposite the Katsina Governor’s lodge in Asokoro and blocked the gate with two tankers, chanting solidarity songs. During the protest, a group of thugs attacked workers with sticks and stones, and chased them away from the minister’s residence.
The NLC has asked the federal government to intervene over the delay in the inauguration of the board of NSITF. Its president, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made the appeal while addressing newsmen after a protest on the delay in inaugurating the board.
It would be recalled that the inauguration of the board was postponed two weeks ago with labour unions decrying the removal of Chief Kokori as the Chairman of the board.
NLC had given the minister a May 1 ultimatum to inaugurate the board with Kokori as Chairman.
Wabba vowed that NLC is going to invite more workers to continue the protest, saying “we are going to invite our largest organ by tomorrow. We are also going to decide a larger scale of action. 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.
Meanwhile, Senator Chris Ngige has denied inviting thugs to attack members of the Congress and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas who picketed his residence over his refusal to inaugurate the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF.
The minister, in a statement by his Special Assistant Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe accused the leadership of the NLC of leading those he described as strange faces to invade his house.
The statement said the invasion of his house left his family members and staff traumatised by the invaders chanting “war songs”.