Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Angry Ekiti State workers thursday stormed the state secretariat in Ado Ekiti and chased away their colleagues who have resumed duty over crisis surrounding their unpaid salaries.
The workers, led by former Chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayodeji Aluko, and his counterpart in Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kolawole Olaiya, who led the protest, accused the government of deceit over its commitment to defray between six and 10 outstanding salaries being owed.
The former labour leaders under the auspices of Ekiti Workers Rescue
Team, who started the protest at about 8.25a.m., addressed the workers at the secretariat, where they ordered their members to leave their offices and commence an indefinite strike.
They said it was wrong for the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who accused former state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of insensitivity for owing one month salary in 2014 to have betrayed the trust and confidence the workers reposed in him that earned him victory in 2014.
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in a statement by its state President, Bunmi Ajimoko, had earlier told his staff across the state to commence strike yesterday, but was later called off due to undisclosed circumstances.
The irate workers also dissolved the state executives of the NLC and
TUC headed by Ade Adesanmi and Odunayo Adesoye respectively, alleging that they have become passive and shying away from carrying out their responsibilities as labour leaders.
Adesoye, however, described the dissolution as not only illegal, null and void but flies in the face of the law as prescribed by International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The TUC chairman also refuted the accusation that the labour leaders collected a sum of N14 million to mobilise for Fayose in the recently held governorship election, saying the ex-labour leaders were only trying to malign their personalities to gain recognition from Fayemi.
During yesterday’s protest, the ex-labour leaders had hardly ended their speeches when the workers stormed the offices and started chasing away their members with cudgels.
They also observed a minute silence in honour of their members who had died due to financial incapacitation engendered by epileptic salary payment.
Addressing the workers, Aluko said: “Today, we are dissolving the executives of NLC and TUC in Ekiti State, and they stand dissolved because their leaders, Adesanmi and Adesoye, have lost their values. They are no longer talking about the welfare of the workers they were expected to defend.
“We decided not to do this protest before election so that they won’t read political meanings to it. Workers have died just because they are not paid. In 2014, Fayose said any governor who owed just
a month salary because he is building infrastructure doesn’t worth being a governor.
“Today, the governor is owing pensioners 10 months, local council workers eight
Months; civil servants and teachers are owed six months. We are not fighting Fayose but he must pay the workers.
“Shortly after the election, Fayose quickly paid six month salaries and furniture allowances of political office holders, then what becomes of our teeming workers?
“It was sad that Adesanmi and Adesoye decided to give Fayemi three months moratorium to pay workers when he assumes office, when they were practically doing nothing to ensure that Fayose doesn’t leave office a debtor governor as he promised.
“We hereby declare indefinite strike commencing from today and only the national secretariats of both TUC and NLC can negotiate on our behalf, because we no longer trust the state leaderships of the two congresses,” he said.
seriousness with which the international community will evaluate our efforts at becoming a viable mining jurisdiction, will be dependent on the way we handle this critical project.”
The minister particularly thanked all who worked hard to make the event possible, he expects maximum commitment in the execution of the project because a lot is at stake.
He urged all to strictly adhere to the job specifications and contractual agreements stipulated in the terms of engagement while also ensuring that local expertise is adequately employed.