THE leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by the congress President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has started assessment tour of the congress affiliate unions.
The import of the solidarity visits to its affiliates, according to Wabba, is to boast their confidence and assured that they are not being left alone to fend for themselves.
Wabba said the NLC has decided to embark on solidarity visits to its affiliates to boast their confidence and assured that they are not being left alone to fend for themselves.”
“Our movement can prosper in unity if we keep the tradition of unity. We are not unmindful of all the challenges that our workers are going through, such as issues of unpaid salaries and allowances.”
So far, the NLC leadership has visited the National Union of Hotels Personal Services Workers (NUHPSW), the Agriculture and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria (AAEUN), the National Union of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NILGE) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
Wabba commenced this important step when leadership crisis is tearing the leadership of the NLC affiliates apart. The National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) has been engulfed in leadership crisis with two factions emerging , one based in Lagos and another in Abuja.
The NUBIFIE leadership crisis might not be unconnected with the difference between the NLC and the United Labour Congress (ULC). While the National leadership operating from Lagos, led by its President, Comrade Danjuma Musa, was trying to pull out NUBIFIE from the NLC to join the ULC, the Abuja faction led by its acting President, Comrade Godling Litkang, said Danjuma, his treasurer and general secretary have been suspended from the union.
In a letter signed by nine other national officers, National Administrative Council (NAC), and National Executive Council (NEC) members of NUBIFIE, sent to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the EFCC and the President of NLC said the “signatory of this letter, reaffirm the suspension of Messrs Danjuma Musa, Sheikh Mohammed and Abdulrasheed Lukman, notwithstanding the August 31, 2015 expiration of the tenure of these suspended persons.”
The crisis has led to the arrest and detention of Comrade Danjuma by the Police for a week in Abuja, but later released through the intervention of the NLC President, Comrade Wabba.
A statement released by the Abuja faction and signed by Comrade Odiaka Jude Nwanji, the acting General Secretary, NUBIFIE, expressed disappointment that the ULC allowed itself to be dragged into an issue which involves alleged fraud, while trying to provide cover for the suspended officers.
The statement said In all their publications, they accused the congress of failure to respond to the real issues leading to the suspended President’s arrest, adding “rather they kept talking about an attempt to remove NUBIFIE from ULC.”
Comrade Nwanji said “We had made it clear that NUBIFIE is constitutionally an affiliate of the NLC and not ULC. No one can just wake up and affiliate a union just like that without fulfilling the due processes especially when such a union’s affiliation is entrenched in its constitution, meaning it has to pass through constitutional processes before such affiliation can be effected which has not been done in this case; unless the ULC is telling us that it has invented a new practice of unionism where a suspended individual can change Union affiliation at will.
“Therefore, what the ULC and the two suspended National Officers of NUBIFIE are doing right now amounts to poaching and criminal subversion of a trade union.”
“We are talking about a case where only two suspended National Officers, namely, President and Treasurer, conduct the affairs of union alone, dissipate union funds alone without any approvals whatsoever, account to no one, make appointments, seize the Secretariat with brigandage, do as they wish in collaboration with few workers of the union and suspended General Secretary, and now romancing with ULC and falsely portraying the union as an affiliate of ULC in an effort to hide themselves.”
He pointed out that suspended national officers cannot be running a union, adding that, “they alone are signatories to all the union accounts and everything.”
He regretted that the two Deputy Presidents, Vice Presidents, National Trustees, Auditors, Signing Trustee, Female Rep, National Officers and all NAC members have all been shut out of the union.
He added: “All the banks refused to honour our demand to change signatories or stop operation of the union accounts by the suspended persons maybe because of regulatory rules which recognize only existing signatories and those they introduce.”
But in his reaction, Comrade Muhammad Ishiyaku Sheikh, who is the General Secretary said to have been suspended, said Nwanji and Odiaka were trying to impersonate the office of NUBIFIE general secretary.
Comrade Ishiyaku said in a statement: “Following the detention of our National
President, Comrade Danjuma Musa for a week now, we wish to draw the attention of the general public and in particular the Nigeria Police High Command to an on-going attempt by some persons impersonating the office of the General Secretary of the union and using the police authority to harass and intimidate the leadership of the union.
“The arrow head of these persons (All of who are none members of the union) is Mr Odiaka Nwanji, an ex-dispatch rider with the defunct Enterprise Bank. He led a team of police officers from FCT Police Command SARS to arrest the National President of our union, Com. Musa on May 11, 2017.
He pointed out that the Odiaka led impostors are desperate to access power through the backdoor by employing the services of Abuja FCT police Command SARS in an attempt to intimidate and bully the national president to submission by attempting to coerce him to resign and abdicate his mandate as the president of the union.
He threatened that the union would not hesitate to call for a total strike nationwide “if the activities of these impostors are not checked by security agencies.”