By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Ahead of the May Day celebrations, six officers of the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) have been slammed with indefinite suspension for anti-union activities.
The affected state Executive officers were Anestina Iweh, Owoanam Akpanwa and Kingsley Akpan, as well as the branch Chairmen; of Ibesikpo-Asutan Local Government Area Imoh Udoeyop, Esit Eket Local Government Area, Aniekan Ntia, and Ukanafun Local Government Area, Monday Abak.
The indefinite suspension order of the state officials which took effect from April 27, 2017, was contained in a letter addressed to them and signed by the National Acting Secretary of the union, Chukwu Emeka Aguonye.
The national executive of the union in the suspension letter, a copy made available to journalists in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, at the weekend, stressed that the suspension was based on the independent investigations carried out on the sins labeled against the officers.
â€œFollowing reports of your anti-union activities in Akwa Ibom State, and having confirmed through our investigations, in addition to your failure to exculpate yourselves, I am directed to inform you that the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of April 26, 2017 has approved your suspension indefinitely.
â€œBesides, you have been using the name of the union to pay courtesy calls on government officials, holding yourselves out as leaders of the union, against the position of the national secretariat, and in contravention of the solidarity and unity expected of our true comrades
â€œYou are hereby suspended indefinitely from the union, for your anti-union activities. You are therefore, requested to handover all properties of the union in your possession to the state secretary immediately,â€ the suspension letter further stressed.
Before the national directive for the officers to proceed on suspension, the affected state officers had been queried for allegedly flouting National Executive Council (NEC) decisions bordering on union activism.
The affected state NULGE officers had further been accused to have colluded with the state government to victimise their state President, Martins Effiong.
The actions of the suspended union officials had reportedly degenerated into wrongful transfer of the service of the state President to the state civil serviceÂ which he didnâ€™t not apply for.
As further punishment against the state president, his salaries from the month of February 2017 till date were held by the state government, whileÂ deduction of union dues was allegedly carried out by the state Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Sir Valentine Attah.
The problem of theÂ state NULGE President, Effiong, with the state government, reportedly began when he got deeply involve in fighting the cause of unpaid workersâ€™ salaries of the Unified Local Government Service in the state in 2015.