Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ekiti State, have described N72 million fraud allegations the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi leveled against its past leaders as disturbing and worrisome.
Consequently, some labour leaders have been queried for allegedly receiving gratifications from the administration of former Governor Ayodele Fayose contrary to the rules of the civil service.
Official documents showed that the immediate past NLC Chairman, Mr. Raymond Adesanmi; former TUC Chairman, Mr. Odunayo Adesoye; former JNC Chairman, Mr. Oladipupo Johnson and former NLC Secretary, O.P. Olayemi were facing investigation on the allegation.
The document, also, showed that former JNC Secretary, Blessing Oladele; former Chairperson of TUC Women Wing, Bolajoko Fajulugbe and former Chairperson of NLC Women Wing, Toyin Ofere had also received queries over the same allegation.
During the Fayose administration, it alleged that officials of the unions were accused of receiving N6 million “monthly running grants” and another N6 million quarterly running grants for their meetings, which amounted to N72 million in four years term of Fayose’s government.
They were also alleged to have been involved in partisan politics contrary to the Public Service Rules and using their positions to acquire plots of land ”under suspicious circumstances under the past administration.”
It was learnt that a panel of inquiry headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Sunday Adebayo, had earlier been set up to look into the matter.
The panel had since submitted its report to the state government, after which queries were issued to the respective former officials.
At a joint news conference the new Chairmen of NLC, Mr. Joshua Kolapo and his TUC counterpart, Mr. Sola Adigun yesterday, the NLC and TUC said the state government had never indicted any labour leader of financial impropriety allegedly committed during the Fayose administration.
Kolapo described the smear campaign being allegedly engineered by some aggrieved members of the unions and their surreptitious moves to divide and emasculate labour movements, noting that nothing would be spared to protect the integrity of the labour in the state.
He said, “We wondered how a query issued to civil servants could find its way to the public domain. It was supposed to have been a secret and internal arrangement. Our findings revealed that the unsigned release did not emanate from the state government. Again, accusation still remains in the realm of allegation until it is proved otherwise.
“No one has been indicted yet until the report is out. I want those propagating lies to desist, especially those that had earned prominence through these platforms. Our past leaders should be commended. They are trying to portray us as being divided. But they will fail in their devilish moves.”
Also at the conference, Adigun explained that the bodies would work hard to fortify labour centres in the state for workers and society at large not to suffer a serious backlash that would accompany a divided labour.
According to him, our views that labour leaders should not be victimised was not an indication that we are supporting corruption. We frowned and condemned the leaked query since it did no emanate from government. The labour family in Ekiti is one and united despite this.