Invasion oF Ngige’s residence, criminal – Red Cross boss

Chairman, Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) Anambra state, Prof. Peter Katchy, has condemned recent attacks on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).

He described the invasion of the minister’s private residence and threat to his life as illegal and criminal.

Speaking in an audience participatory program of the state Broadcasting Service, Katchy argued that the approach was not only alien to labour laws, but affront on the nation at large.

According to him, the NLC’s threat to subject Ngige to international ridicule was a wrong step towards achieving their goals.

He said, “The NLC’s attacks on the minister, including the recent invasion of his private residence in Abuja, which was supposedly to pressure the minister to inaugurate Chief Frank Kokori as the chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), was a lawless action.

Katchy called on relevant authorities to call the NLC led by its president, Ayuba Wabba, to order or face the wrath of patriotic citizens who would no longer tolerate the unending impasse.

He argued that Wabba had no power to query any appointment by Mr. President on the recommendation of the minister.

Katchy continued, “The NLC action is unknown to extant Nigerian and international labour laws guiding trade disputes and grievances.

“The illegal invasion in the guise of picketing the private residence of the minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, by 2:00 am, blocking his entrance gate with patrol laden tanker, is highly condemnable and should not be allowed in the country.

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“The appointment of any qualified Nigerian into political office at the federal level is the prerogative of the president or by the recommendation of the supervisory minister; in this case, the minister of labour and employment.

“The provision of Section 4(1) (a) of the 1993 NSITF Act, vests the sole power to make recommendation for the appointment of the chairman of the board of NSITF on the president on the advice of the minister of labour and employment.

“The NLC invaders claimed that they were beaten by security operatives during the protest; but I will tell them that they deserved more than mere beating, because, their action was illegal and criminal.”

The NRCS boss further noted that the NLC helmsman and members of the union were not recognised by the NSITF Act to nominate or recommend any person for the position of the chairman of the board.

“Nigerians wonder where the NLC president got the powers to compel the minister to swear-in their preferred candidate as the chairman without presidential approval,” he said.

Citing the law establishing the NSITF, Katchy explained that Section 4(1)(b)(ii) of the NSITF Act gives the NLC the prerogative to nominate two representatives to the board of NSITF.

He said such nominees must go through the recommendation of the minister to the president.