The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Imo Democratic Congress, IDA, a civil society organisation, clashed Wednesday over the purported compilation of false names of unpaid Imo workers and pensioners.
The group in a statement by its President, Comrade Greg Mbannasor, had accused the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, of given directive for the compilation of what it claimed are fake names of unpaid Imo State workers and pensioners to be submitted to the official of National Security Adviser, in furtherance of the truce brokered last Wednesday that led to the suspension of the indefinite nationwide strike by Organized Labour.
But the NLC’s head of the Information and Public Affairs, Comrade Bension Upah, described the IDA allegation as utterly irresponsible and farcical.
In a statement IDA claimed it had “incontrovertible evidence to prove that Comrade Ajaero has instructed his footsoldiers in Imo state to begin the compilation of the fake names of workers claiming to be owed many months of salary arrears”
The Ajaero led NLC had claimed that Imo state government was owing arrears of salaries and pensions to the tune of over 10,000 people, as one of the grounds for its several attempts to embark on strikes in the state.
But, the state government has repeatedly denied the same and challenged him to produce the names of such workers with evidence that they are employees of the state.
The group said. “ Noticing that its inability to produce a list of state workers owed salaries was beginning to work against it in the eyes of the public, Ajaero recently asked its state imposed caretaker committe to circulate forms asking people owed salaries to put down some information.
The undated circular was sent out last week Thursday and signed by Comrade Anukwroji Nduka Peters, state caretaker committee
Secretary of NLC, requesting for the name, phone number, establishment and months owed with immediate effect. “
Comrade Mbanasor noted that what gave out the document as insincere is that it did not even bother to ask for year and evidence of employment suggesting that any one claiming to be owed salary by the state government without evidence of employment was all that Ajaero needed.
“It also shows that Ajaero never had any data all along yet he was telling the world that Imo state government was owing arrears of salaries of 22 months to 10,000 workers”
“Yes Ajaero, couldn’t have provided any data because none existed. It was all propaganda aimed at stopping the reelection of Gov Hope Uzodimma. They were caught in their lies’, Mbanasor argued.
He said he also suspected that the NSA Mallam Nuhu Ribadu,during a meeting with organised Labour, must have insisted that he will not do anything without the list of unpaid workers hence,the NLC president and his allies hurriedly issued the notice for people to come and write their names as unpaid Imo workers.
“ What this means is that they never had any list at all. Joe Ajaero was just grandstanding working for Labour Party by dishing out falsehood to Nigerians, “he alleged .
The IDA President urged the national security adviser to ignore whatever data that the NLC generates as it was bound to have been doctored.
He noted that if they were genuine cases of those being owed,NLC ought to have attended that meeting with such a data.
However in a response, the NLC spokesman, said: “This is utterly irresponsible and farcical. Of what benefit is it to Joe Ajaero to manufacture names! If there were no issues of pension and salary arrears, false declaration of false ghost workers and distorted payment of national minimum wage, what have the issues been with the state government?
“Whipping up the issue of Labour Party here is a deliberate ploy to mask the real issues which are the sins of Imo State Government!
“As for for Labour Party, it is important for Nigerians to know that Nigeria Labour is a distinct entity from Labour Party and it is within our right individually and collectively have a choice like other Nigerians or groups of Nigerians. “We owe no one an apology if that choice is Labour Party even as it is not for everyone within the organised labour family.
“Further more, Labour’s association with partisan politics predates Nigeria’s independence. Those conversant with that history are well aware of the leading role Labour played through strikes and negotiated settlements to win for the country its independence.
“One of such strikes was Cost of Living Allowance, COLA, that forced the hand of the British. Coupled with this, Pa Imoudu and co were on the delegation to London for independence talks.
“Much more recently, organised labour in alliance with Civil Society organisations and the media played a leading role in securing/restoring our democracy from the military.
“At that time most of the beneficiaries of our democracy today were no where to be found. Where they were found, they were either playing a complicitious role with the military or acting as drivers to crooks.
“We wish well the characters responsible for this misinformation/mischief. History is replete with accounts of people like them ending up in the belly of the lion. We are waiting.”