31st May, 2013
After the two-day warning strike called by the Rivers State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, in protest against the police occupation of Obio-Akpor Local Government Council, making it impossible for workers to be paid their salaries, the labour leaders are enmeshed in allegation of gratification.
Workers of the Council have been disallowed access to the council and are owed April and May salaries.
The labour leaders’ argument is that the Head of Personnel Management and the civil servants should be allowed access to the secretariat to do their job so that workers’ salaries can be paid.
As soon as the strike started, labour leaders were accused of collecting N100 million from the state government to call the strike.
The Chairman of TUC in Rivers state, Mr Chika Onuegbu, described allegation as a cheap “blackmail and an insult on the vibrant labour in the state.The Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mubu, has been told that we have a vibrant labour in the state and cannot intimidate us.The late General Abacha tried it and never succeeded.”
Onuegbu reminded the police boss in the state that besides he being Chairman of TUC in the state, he is also the National Industrial officer of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, PENGASSAN and the police boss should be mindful of trying to intimidate people like him and its implication to the economy of the country.
He said that “labour leaders are not politicians and cannot be dragged into the Rivers State politics. As labour union,the workers in Obio Akpor are our affiliate members and what happens to them affects us injury to one is injury to all.”
He challenged those making false allegations against labour leaders to resolve the crisis in Obio Akpor council, ask police to allow workers into the council and do their work so that they can get paid.
Meanwhile, Governor Chibuike Amaechi says he is not in position to resolve the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state.
Governor Amaechi said this while responding to questions during an interactive session with members from PDP and other political parties at the 2013 Inter-Party Summit in Port Harcourt.
He said the reason is because he is not the cause of the problems in the party.
The governor also accused the state commissioner of Mbu, of giving the chairman of Port Harcourt Club police protection after withdrawing some of his men from government officials.
—Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt