Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has split into two factions.
While Chairman, NULGE Caretaker Committee, Comrade Nankpak Njomiri is leading a faction, Alhaji Ibrahim Khaleel is the head of the other faction made up of members of the former Executive Council, allegedly sacked with him by court.
This factionalisation followed the alleged refusal of Khaleel sacked by two divisions of the National Industrial Court sitting in Owerri to comply with the judgment of the court.
The court ruled that Khaleel and members of his executive councils had fully served out their four-year tenure in accordance with the union’s constitution and could not legally enjoy any extension.
In Suit No: NICN/Ow/36/2018, the court nullified the elongation of the tenure of the defendants and other officers of NULGE at both state and national levels elected into office in 2014 on the basis of the union’s 2005 constitution which were purportedly elongated from four years to six years by the National Delegates Conference in Akure, in 2016.
In a statement yesterday, Njomiri confirmed the fractionalisation of NULGE, blaming it on Khaleel for refusing “to bow to the court decision on the flimsy excuse that he is not a party in the suit and therefore the judgment is not binding on him.”
Njomiri, however said: “Khaleel’s claim has been dismissed by the Kaduna division of the court which recently in a similar suit, affirmed that the Owerri judgment is conclusive and inclusive of all officers of NULGE elected in 2014 at both state and national levels without ambiguity.
“What is causing the crisis in NULGE and the refusal by some state chapters to pay their dues is simply because of Khaleel’s lack of respect for rule of law, both the Nigerian Constitution and the union’s constitution.
“As at today, Khaleel has neither been granted a leave to appeal the judgment nor has the judgment been set aside by a superior court of competent jurisdiction, yet he has bluntly refused to vacate the office, using security agents to scare away stakeholders and illegally perpetuating himself in office.”
Khaleel, however, denied the allegation that he violated the constitution of the union by still remaining in office as president, noting that the order of the Owerri court, which Njomiri based his claim on, was merely a declaratory order.
Khaleel also described the Njomiri-led committee “as lacking foundation. It is neither a product of the decision of the National Executive Committee of NULGE as they falsely claimed in their public statement announcing the emergence of the committee since none of them is a member of NEC nor is it a product of any court order.”
Lending credence to the crisis rocking NULGE, a former officer of the union from Imo State, Comrade Kingsley Owuama said following the judgment, stakeholders in the union met in accordance with the constitution which forbids a vacuum and appointed the Njomiri-led Committee to pilot the union, including conducting elections in some state branches.