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ASUU wants Buhari to investigate attacks on Labour leaders at Ngige’s residence
THE leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says President Muhammadu Buhari needs to institute a Panel of Inquiry into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis that led to the attacks on leaders and members of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday at the residence of Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
The academic union stated this in a statement issued by its National President, Biodun Ogunyemi on Thursday, a copy of which was made available to The ICIR.
While insisting that all those found culpable should be brought to justice, ASUU said that “it solidarised with all comrades who were brutalised for no just cause.
“Nigerian workers should not, and will not, surrender to some power-drunk politicians who are out to enslave Nigerians in their own country,” it added.
The ICIR reported that members of the Congress who were on protest to picket the Minister’s residence on Wednesday over his refusal to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) were attacked by suspected armed thugs.
The Fund replaced the National Provident Fund (NPF) which came into existence in 1961. Among other things, the Board is charged with the responsibility of implementing the Employees’ Compensation Act (ECA) of 2010.
The ASUU also commended the NLC leadership for its courageous defence of the rights of workers of Nigeria and urged Congress to stay steadfast and continue to resist all attempts to emasculate the Nigerian working, class and its organisation.
“For us in ASUU, there is no justification whatsoever for the attack on labour leaders. It is a retrogressive step which should not be tolerated in an aspiring democracy like ours. All well- meaning Nigerians should condemn this barbaric move against helpless and hapless workers,” it said.
It noted that the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Waba, has, for more than one year, consistently raised concerns about the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, as the major obstacle to the inauguration of the NSITF Board.
“Comrade Ayuba argues that Senator Ngige does not want to inaugurate the Board because it is to be chaired by a former Vice-President of NLC, Chief Frank Kokori. All entreaties to make the Minister shift ground at consultative meetings reportedly fell on deaf ears,” ASUU said.
“And the NLC was left with no other option than the picketing strategy which, unfortunately, the Minister failed to handle with care and caution.”