The Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has dismissed the press briefing held Tuesday by the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) Comrade Ayuba Waba as a feeble attempt to wriggle out of shame and illegality, vowing to remain unshaken on the part of the law.
“ The NLC can go ahead and picket the Ministry of labour and Employment and allied interests a million times, but I want assure them that Ngige will remain on the side of the law,” the Minister said in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe.
“ All the tissues of lies wrapped in a desperate escape route to nowhere by Waba has adequately been addressed variously . However , I wish to restate that the desperate moves by Ayuba and his co-travelers to impose their paddy-man as the chairman of the NSITF will continue to flounder on the insistence knockings of reason as well as the stoic resistance of the Hon. Minster to illegality.
“Hence, we make abundantly clear once more that the provisions of section 4(a) of the NSITF Act is very clear on the sole responsibility of the Minister of Labour and Employment to nominate a neutral , fit and proper person for the approval of the president for the Chairmanship of the board.
“ The Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige NEVER nominated Comrade Frank Kokori.
“However, an appropriate recommendation has been made by the Hon. Minister in conformity with the NSITF Act and in fairness to the spirit of the labour tripartism. A chartered accountant, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Insurance of Nigeria and fellow of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria , Austin Isire has been nominated and approved by the President as the Chairman of the board of the NSITF.
“A neutral person for the avoidance of doubt is one who is neither pro-labour unions which Kokori is, nor Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) an umbrella body representing private sector manufacturers nor a member of the government. This was the case during the recently concluded National Minimum Wage negotiation, where in the spirit of tripartism , a neutral, fit and proper person, Miss Amah Pepple was nominated by the Hon. Minister and assented to by the President to chair the committee.
“Kokori, a labour leader, was nominated by Ayuba Waba and his journey men to continue their vicious stranglehold on the NSITF and her sister parastatal, Trust Fund Pension where whoever is the chairman of the NISTF automatically becomes chairman. Ayuba, the labour leader is yet to explain to Nigerians his ominous silence over the pillage of the NSITF to the tune of N62 Billion naira when he took over as the NLC President. Nigerians had expected an outrage from him as a labour leader who has constantly been claiming though in ignorance, the NSITF funds, as belonging to workers. Did his election to the first term of office benefit in any way from the oozing filth? Let him tell Nigerians and why he is scared stiff that any other person except Kokori should chair the board of the NSITF.
“We wish to state once more that the NSITF fund is not workers money as it does not subsist on contributions from workers salaries. It is an insurance premium, an insurance cover contributed by employers in the private and public sectors for the benefit of a workers and employers who die or injure in the course of work.
“ May I state for the avoidance of doubt that the Hon. Minister of labour and Employment can neither be intimidated by blackmail nor by hooliganism . Certainly, Sen. Ngige cannot be derailed from carrying out his legitimate duties as directed by the President by rouge unionism ”