The decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress to picket the residence of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige. Moreso, which led to violence and degenerated to fracas has been condemned by a group, the Coalition of Delta APC Support Groups, on Friday.
The group also said the exercise violated Ngige’s right to private life.
Daniel Ekuigbo, who is the Convener of the Coalition and also the Coordinator of Change Consolidation Coalition, made its position known in a statement made available to Newsmen.
Ekuigbo said that it is even more disturbing that the NLC is acting in this manner purportedly to compel the Minister of Labour Dr Chris Ngige to disobey the approval of the President and inaugurate Chief Frank Kokori as the chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund in place of Mr Austin Enajemo-Isire that is duly appointed by President Mohammadu Buhari.
He said that it is not only difficult to understand why the NLC will make an issue of a chairmanship appointment of one individual Nigerian a national emergency just because that individual is a former Labour leader, it is even more perplexing that the NLC is determined to break the law and even spill the blood of Nigerians to achieve a clearly illegal and crooked purpose. Labour organisations, he opined, were not expected to act lawlessly, no matter the perceived provocations.
He said, “The picketing of the Labour Minister’s private residence was not only unlawful and against the Trade Dispute Act of Nigeria and gross violation of the fundamental right of Dr Ngige to his private life, but also criminal and an embarrassment to organise labour organisation.
“Assuming without conceding that Ngige acted outside Presidential approval to refuse the inauguration of Kokori as chairman of the board of the NSITF, does such act constitute a trade dispute which permit the NLC to picket offices or businesses where the dispute arises?
What exactly is NLC’s interest in the this matter? The same Kokori has been given another appointment by Mr President as Chairman of the Michael Imoudu Labour Training Institute, Ilorin, so why is NLC insisting Kokori must be Chairman of NSITF?
“The NLC must know that there are federal laws that established and regulate trade unions and trade disputes which must be obeyed by all parties, employers and employees including trade unions.
“NLC can only act within such laws and must restrict its protest or picketing to the official offices and in this case, perhaps offices of the Minister of Labour, the office of Mr President or other Federal Government office connected to the NSITF in its determination to compel either Dr Ngige to disobey Mr President or Mr President to change his approval from Mr Isire to Chief Kokori whichever is applicable.
“For the NLC to take its protest to the private residence of a government official for matters that are wholly and strictly official, is totally condemnable and should be denounced by all Nigerians because such act is not only lawless but violates the private life of Ngige and indeed any official of government and private sector. To take petrol tankers loaded with fuel and block the entrance of the Minister’s house is not only an illegal and dangerous act of intimidation but a reckless threat to life and properties of not only Dr Ngige and family but Dr Ngige’s neighbors and their families.
“Finally, we call on all Nigerians to rise up and condemn this barbaric act by the NLC. Nigerians should direct the NLC to prioritize the interest of Nigerians ahead of an individual who believes he is entitled to be appointed to a particular position by the President of Nigeria”, the statement concluded