Ngige Lambasts NLC for Reporting Kaduna, Kogi to ILO

For daring to report two states in the country to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has described the action of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as against the nation’s interest.
The NLC was said to have reported two states to the Committee on the Application of Standard of the ILO, which the Minister found to be in bad faith.
The NLC had written to the committee reporting both Kaduna and Kogi state governments and asking the ILO to send a high-powered delegation to Nigeria to investigate infringements of the right of workers by the states.
The report by the NLC against the two states was one of the issues discussed by the Committee on Application of Standard at the just-concluded 107th session of the ILO and the decision of the committee is expected to be ready in November.
The NLC is asking the ILO to send a high-powered delegation made of experts to visit the country on a fact-finding mission, but the Federal Government delegation said there was no need to send experts as the issue was already being handled.
The Minister, in an interview in Geneva, Switzerland, said the retrenchment of unqualified teachers in Kaduna State, which the NLC stated in its petition, was being tackled at home and needed no mention at the international labour forum.
He said: “We don’t need to wash our dirty linen in the public. My ministry summoned both the Kaduna State Government and the Nigerian Union of Teachers and they presented their cases. We know the truth and don’t need to bring such to the ILO. Some of the people disengaged by the Kaduna State Government from the records tendered to us are not qualified teachers.
“They don’t have the prerequisite certificate and competence. They got smuggled into the system, but we don’t need to come here tell the world that Nigerians get jobs with fake certificates. We don’t need to engage in such de-marketing of the nation.”
The Minister said based on agreement with the Kaduna State Government, about ten thousand out of the number that failed the qualification test have re-applied, and the Kaduna State has re-absolved some of them.
The state government, he said, promised to move others to another jobs.
It has besides recruited more qualified teachers into the system.
However, NLC Deputy President Comrade Peters Adeyemi, who represented the congress at the proceedings of the Committee on Application of Standards, said the congress took the matter to the ILO because the governors were behaving more like untouchables.
He said: “This arbitrariness needed to be checked. We had to come here because, if we cast our mind back, President Muhammadu Buhari, out of pain, looked at governors and asked them, how you can sleep when salaries of workers remained unpaid.
“The problem has to do with the fact that the states have become lords to themselves to the extent that all our President can do is to lament, because he is not able to make them do what is right. Some of these bailout funds were not used for the purpose they were used for. We know that at some point in time, the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) was trying to follow up some of those who misused these funds, but we have not gotten any result.
“What we are saying is that the ILO should send a high-powered mission to Nigeria to ascertain some of these claims. Clearly, we had to put some of these things before the international community because if, despite his efforts, the president has not been able to do what is required, maybe if it is brought to the international community, people will have reason to begin to think more reasonably that this is a disgrace to our country.”

Author: News Editor

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