15 July 2017
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has alleged that the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, is being infiltrated by political forces.
The governor made this assertion a day after security operatives barred the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, from addressing workers at the State Secretariat, Port Harcourt.
Speaking when Wabba and other NLC officials paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, Wike said the political infiltration of the NLC has made the congress ineffective and unable to positively respond on issues that affect less privileged Nigerians.
“Nigerians are not happy with the NLC. With due respect, you people are now politicians.
“You are no longer as strong as you used to be. I remember when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was President, you wanted to pull heaven down just for the slight removal of petroleum subsidy.
“Now, they have removed everything and nothing has happened,” he said.The governor, who bemoaned the division within the ranks of NLC; hence when it calls for national strike, people don’t respond.
“You have allowed politicians to penetrate your ranks and you now have two factions. Factionalisation is not the best. I urge you to work for the union to be strong, as this is in the interest of the nation,” he said.
The governor urged the congress to stand firm and work for the protection of Nigerians and the country’s democracy, assuring them that the state would continue to resolve all welfare challenges facing workers and retirees.
“Look at what is happening in the country today and nobody is talking. Nobody wants to go to jail. If you talk, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will come after you. If you don’t want EFCC to trouble you, defect to the other party.
“There was this ED (Executive Director) Finance of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, who was a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. EFCC was after him, when he defected to the other party, they dropped the charges,” he said.
Wike said the country should practice true federalism in all areas, including the salary structures of the respective states, noting: “If the new salary structure is agreed, if Rivers State can pay, can Ebonyi State pay? There should not be a uniformed condition of service.
“In Nigeria, you are paid same amount of money in Lagos as in Kogi State. That is why we cannot get it right.”
Wabba, in his response, urged the governor to handle the challenges arising from recently retired workers, contributory pensions and the irregular meetings of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council.
“The trade unions asked me to express their gratitude, particularly on the issue of regular payment of salaries. This certainly, we have to appreciate, because we are aware that in some states, they have difficulty in that aspect. In some states, they have even contemplated retrenchment,” Wabba said.