Rivers Govt Seals NLC Secretariat

A file photo of the NLC secretariat in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

 

 

The Rivers State government has sealed the secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Although both parties gave different reasons why the building was sealed, the closure was carried out by government officials on Sunday night.

The Head Bureau for Special Projects and Special Adviser to the governor (Special Projects), Alabo George-Kelly, confirmed this in a statement forwarded to Channels Television on Monday.

Before the NLC secretariat was sealed, there have been reports of disagreement between the state government and the organised labour over the failure to fully implement the new national minimum wage of N30,000 for workers.

A file photo of the NLC secretariat in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

 

While the NLC leadership accused the government of sealing its secretariat because of the implementation of the minimum wage, George-Kelly disagreed.

He described the allegation by the labour body as frivolous, saying it was not just untrue but also a calculated attempt at misleading the public against the genuine intentions of the government.

“As you may be aware, the NLC structure which was built pro bono by the Rivers State government for labour was completed and commissioned only a few months ago by the Bureau and it is our normal practice to carry out general inspections and structural integrity evaluation or tests before the expiration of the defects liability period.

“It is this activity that precedes the release of the five per cent retention fees due to any contractor six months or one year upon practical completion of the project. This is not new to every contractor or client in the construction industry,” George-Kelly said.

According to him, the contractor of the project reported to the bureau that there was a structural defect that must be immediately fixed to avoid further deterioration or risks of incidents.

The bureau chief said they acted expeditiously by giving him the approval to conduct a thorough structural integrity evaluation in liaison with the bureau’s in-house consultants.

He stressed that this could only be done by first sealing off the building, adding that it cannot be in use while the exercise was on.

George-Kelly, therefore, said “It is uncharitable and ungrateful for anyone under the aegis of the NLC to misconstrue this exercise for a product of an imagined imbroglio between labour and government. This is sad!

“It is worthy to mention that the subject matter being discussed was graciously provided for the union, as a result, the cordial relationship that exists between labour and government and I’m not in doubt of the continuity of that cordiality.”

NLC, TUC Protest Verification Policy By Kaduna Govt.

NLC, TUC Protest Verification Policy By Kaduna Govt.Civil servants in Kaduna State have shunned their offices in protest against the new verification exercise introduced by the state government mandating them to indicate if they want to be part of a labour union or not.

In their hundreds, they converged on the state NLC secretariat on Wednesday with representatives of affiliate unions and civil society organisations to hold a mini rally in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.

They condemned what they described as the deliberate attempt by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to enslave them and destabilise unionism in the state public service.

The workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) alleged that most of them had not been paid salaries for about eight months.

Speaking in company of the TUC President, Bobbi Kaigama, and a rights activist, Festus Okoye; the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, explained that one of the columns in the form required workers to indicate whether they wanted to belong to a union or not.

He added that the new directive was strange to them.

“It contravenes the labour laws concerning to employees/employers condition of service,” he said.

Also at the rally was the former NLC Vice President, Issa Aremu, who said that the organised labour would use all legal means at their disposal to ensure that the new policy does not stand, maintaining that the governor had no right to meddle into labour affairs.

Reacting to the protest, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Finance, Suleiman Kwari, said that the exercise was aimed at ascertaining the true number of its workforce and not targeted to destabilise the unions.

He explained that there was nothing wrong with the government asking the workers to indicate if they wanted to belong to a union or not since it was optional to do so.

The commissioner also disclosed that those who were being owed salaries had issues with their documentation.

The Kaduna State has given the workers till Monday, March 28, to fill and return the forms and has vowed to apply sanctions against defaulters.