NLC Demands Inauguration of Kokori-led NSITF Board Before May Day
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige to inaugurate the Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) under the chairmanship of Chief Frank Ovie Kokori on or before the 2019 May Day.
But in swift reaction, the Special Assistant to Ngige on media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe told THISDAY last night that most of the issues raised by the NLC were not factual.
The NLC has also debunked the allegation by the ministry that it imported violent thugs to disrupt the inauguration of the board of NSITF, which was to have taken place on April 18, 2019.
In a statement issued yesterday by NLC’s President, Ayuba Wabba, the union said stated that calling the topmost hierarchy of NLC thugs and hooligans is most irresponsible.
Wabba said that the labour movement had shown enough patience and understanding with regard to the long delay in the inauguration of NSITF’s board by the ministry, adding that “as a responsible working-class organisation that values the tenets of social dialogue and tri-parties, we had pursued this issue tenaciously for the last three years with relevant authorities without externalising it, despite all our frustrations.’’
Wabba said: “Going forward, the dropping of the name of Mr President notwithstanding, we expect Ngige to inaugurate the Board of NSITF under the chairmanship of Chief Frank Ovie Kokori before the 2019 May Day.’’
However, while explaining its position on the stalled inauguration of the NSITF’s board, Wabba said he and the President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG), William Akporeha, led other leaders of the labour movement to the venue of the inauguration ceremony.
Wabba explained that NLC has statutorily two members in the NSITF Board, which, by law, it is obligated to nominate.
He said that they waited patiently for well over two hours for the commencement of the event in the presence of dozens of journalists from various national media houses who came to cover the event, stating that DSS operatives were also on the ground as well as the police.
“The fact that there was not even a single reported incident of breakdown of law and order, or the arrest of any person for unruly behaviour, is a categorical attestation to the peaceful and calm manner in which all those who came for the occasion conducted themselves,” Wabba said.
He described the statement issued by the ministry, accusing NLC of bringing thugs to disrupt the scheduled inauguration, as “unbelievable barefaced lies and uncouth language.’’