• Stops ILO high -powered delegation’s visit to Nigeria

By Paul Obi in Abuja

The federal government yesterday frowned at the National Labour Congress (NLC) petition to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against the Nigerian Government over alleged killing of workers and sacking of teachers by the Kaduna State government.

The NLC had during the just concluded ILO annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland, petitioned the federal government, alleging killing of some of its members across the country.

The NLC was also said to have raised the issue of sacking of teachers by the Kaduna State Government, a move the federal government said was uncalled for and unpatriotic.

In a statement, Director of Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere, said  the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige expressed government’s concern over the petition, adding that such act would send wrong signals across the world. 

Ngige described “the issue of alleged killing of workers as  contained in the petition by the NLC to the Committee of Standards of ILO as an outright falsehood as no Nigerian has been killed for reasons of  being a worker or issues linked to  unionism. 

“To do so especially at an international level is against the interest of Nigeria. People  have lost their lives in some parts of  the country due to general  insecurity and such incidents are clearly non-discriminatory.

“People are kidnapped, robbed and  some times killed but those who were victims were not so because they were workers, clergy or such. 

“Anybody could be affected. Even top government functionaries have been kidnapped. So, this is as a result of general insecurity. For anybody therefore to come to the ILO and claim that people are being killed because they are workers is an unacceptable tissue of lies.” 

Also, the minister said the retrenchment of unqualified teachers in Kaduna State which the NLC stated  in its petition was being tackled at home and needed no mention at the international labour forum.

Ngige added that “we don’t need to wash our dirty linen in the public . My ministry summoned both the Kaduna State Government and the Nigerian Union of Teachers and they presented their case. We know the truth and don’t need to bring such to the ILO. Some of the people disengaged  by the Kaduna State Government from the records tendered to us are not qualified teachers.

“They don’t have the  prerequisite certificate and competence. They got smuggled into the system, but we don’t need to come here tell the world that Nigerians get jobs with fake certificates . We don’t need to engage in such demarketing of the country.”

The minister further stated that based on agreement with the Kaduna State Government, about ten thousand out of the number that failed the qualification test have re-applied, and the Kaduna State has re-absolved some of them, promising to move others to others jobs. It has also recruited more qualified teachers into the system.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Government won the case with its representatives rejecting the proposal to send a high-powered team of the ILO to investigate the matter, describing it as premature and unnecessary to ILO.

Attempts by THISDAY to speak with NLC officials were not fruitful as both the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and General Secretary,  Peter Ozo-Eson, did not respond to calls put across to them.