THE leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its 43 affiliates will today converge on Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital to protest against the state government over what it described as grievous mistreatment by the state workers by Governor Ibikunle Amosu.
The leadership of the congress resolved during their National Administrative Council (NAC) last Friday in Abuja to gathered all their affiliates and state councils to visit Ogun State and have a date with the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, for showing no respect to rule of law and for trampled workers on the ground.
The grouse of the congress against the governor, according the the NLC President, Comd. Ayuba Wabba, include the non-remittance of statutory deductions from workers’ salaries for pensions, cooperative, ileya, Christmas etc; for over a period of 105 months.
Another reason is the non-utilization of the last tranche of the Paris Club refund for the payment of gratuity for both state and local government workers since 2013 despite signing a collective bargaining agreement with organized labour in Ogun State.
The workers grouse also include the governor refusal to pay workers at the Tai Solarin College of Education salary arrears that has accumulated for the past ten years and now grosses to a financial liability of about N9 billion.
“To make matters worse, Governor Amosun sacked the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress from his employment for standing firm in the defense of the rights of workers in Ogun State.” Wabba said.
However, the NLC said it has taken note of the threat by Governor Amosun, but said his threats will not deter them from defending the interest of workers in Ogun State whose rights he has been trampling upon.
Giving the position of the congress, Comd. Wabba said: “The issues we have highlighted are too grievous to be swept under the carpet, therefore, the decision of the 12th National Delegates Conference of the NLC to confront and engage Governor Amosun will be carried out to the letter on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that even Amosun’s party has complained of his penchant to violently disgrace other spheres of leadership outside his control and sometimes beyond him. We are not unmindful of the fact that Governor Amosun’s hostility to Nigerian workers is primarily a transfer of aggression.
“Our confidence stems from the protection and guarantees provided by Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution which gives workers and indeed all Nigerians the freedom to peacefully assembly and protest. All that the law requires us to do is to inform the Police and relevant security agencies. This we have done.”
Wabba added: “We are ready to peacefully protest the grievous mistreatment by our workers in the hands of Governor Ibikunle Amosun on 5th March 2019.
“It is unfortunate that as a sitting Governor and a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Governor Ibikunle Amosun shows no respect for the rule of law and could descend into the dunghill of violent utterances in order to cow workers.
“We want to warn Governor Amosun that we will hold him personally responsible for any harm that comes to any worker during our protest on March 5, 2019.
“We want to remind Governor Amosun that he has already trampled workers on the ground and those who are down need fear no fall. We wish to alert our security agencies to Governor Amosun’s resort to violent threats.
“We assure him that his immunity cover will soon be removed and he must be ready to answer for his crimes against workers. The NLC can assure Ibikunle Amosun that we will continue to engage him even after he would have been sworn in as a Senator in Abuja.”
Comd. Wabba called on all the state councils especially those from the contiguous states to Ogun State – Lagos, Oyo, Osun states who are already fully mobilized for the protest not to be sacred by the threats of Gov. Amosun; reminding them that in unity, labour had dared and won worse tyrants.
He also advise President Muhammadu Buhari, “to distance himself from characters such as Governor Amosun who has shown to be unrepentantly arrogant, unnecessarily difficult, completely dishonest and totally unreliable.”
He added: “On about four occasions, Governor Amosun promised to address our demands but he failed to honour his promises. Even the agreement he signed with workers to use the last tranche of the Paris Club Refund to clear arrears of indebtedness to workers, he is yet to fulfill.”