The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has taken cognizance of a statement credited to the Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, where he threatened to disgrace the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress if the Congress insists on embarking on a protest scheduled for Tuesday March 5, 2019 in Ogun State. This was reported by Premium Times on 1st March 2019 and other platforms.
The Nigeria Labour Congress has taken note of the threat by Governor Ibikunle Amosun but we want to assure him that his threats will not deter us from defending the interest of workers in Ogun State whose rights he has been trampling upon especially on the following issues:
1. The non-remittance of statutory deductions from workers’ salaries for pensions, cooperative, ileya, Christmas etc. over a period of one hundred and five (105) months;
2. The non-utilization of the last tranche of the Paris Club refund for the payment of gratuity for both state and local government workers since 2013 despite signing a collective bargaining agreement with organized labour in Ogun State;
3. The refusal to pay workers at the Tai Solarin College of Education salary arrears that has accumulated for the past ten years and now grosses to a financial liability of about N9 billion; and
4. To make matters worse, Governor Amosun sacked the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress from his employment for standing firm in the defense of the rights of workers in Ogun State.
The issues we have highlighted are too grievous to be swept under the carpet, therefore, the decision of the 12th National Delegates Conference of the NLC to confront and engage Governor Amosun will be carried out to the letter on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
We are not unmindful of the fact that even Amosun’s party has complained of his penchant to violently disgrace other spheres of leadership outside his control and sometimes beyond him. We are not unmindful of the fact that Governor Amosun’s hostility to Nigerian workers is primarily a transfer of aggression.
Our confidence stems from the protection and guarantees provided by Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution which gives workers and indeed all Nigerians the freedom to peacefully assembly and protest. All that the law requires us to do is to inform the Police and relevant security agencies. This we have done. We are ready to peacefully protest the grievous mistreatment by our workers in the hands of Governor Ibikunle Amosun on 5th March 2019.
It is unfortunate that as a sitting Governor and a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Governor Ibikunle Amosun shows no respect for the rule of law and could descend into the dunghill of violent utterances in order to cow workers. We want to warn Governor Amosun that we will hold him personally responsible for any harm that comes to any worker during our protest on March 5, 2019.
We want to remind Governor Amosun that he has already trampled workers on the ground and those who are down need fear no fall. We wish to alert our security agencies to Governor Amosun’s resort to violent threats. We assure him that his immunity cover will soon be removed and he must be ready to answer for his crimes against workers. The NLC can assure Ibikunle Amosun that we will continue to engage him even after he would have been sworn in as a Senator in Abuja.
We wish to state that we unequivocally stand with the press statement recently released by our state council on this issue. We urge all our state councils especially those from the contiguous states to Ogun State – Lagos, Oyo, Osun states who are already fully mobilized for the protest not to be sacred one bit by the threats by Governor Ibikunle Amosun. We had dared and won worse tyrants!
Finally, we advise Mr. President to distance himself from characters such as Governor Amosun who has shown to be unrepentantly arrogant, unnecessarily difficult, completely dishonest and totally unreliable. On about four occasions, Governor Amosun promised to address our demands but he failed to honour his promises. Even the agreement he signed with workers to use the last tranche of the Paris Club Refund to clear arrears of indebtedness to workers, he is yet to fulfil.
It is not too late for Governor Ibikunle Amosun to retrace his steps and grant justice to workers in Ogun State. A word is enough for the wise!
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
1st March 2019