Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that the decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to report the country to the Committee on the Application of Standard of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was done in bad faith and against the interest of the country.
The NLC had written to the committee reporting both Kaduna and Kogi State governments and asking the ILO to send a high powered delegation to Nigeria to investigate infringements of the right of workers by the state governments.
The report by the NLC against the two states was one of the issues discussed by the Committee on Application of Standard at the just concluded 107th session of the International Labour Organization and the decision of the committee is expected to be ready in November 2018.
The NLC is asking the ILO to send a high powered delegation made of experts to visit the country on a fact finding mission, but the Nigerian government delegation said there was no need to send experts as the issue was already being handled by the Nigerian government.
The Minister said in an interview in Geneva, Switzerland that the retrenchment of unqualified teachers in Kaduna State which the NLC stated in its petition was being tackled at home and needed no mention at the international labour forum.
He said “we don’t need to wash our dirty linen in the public. My ministry summoned both the Kaduna State Government and the Nigerian Union of Teachers and they presented their case. We know the truth and don’t need to bring such to the ILO. Some of the people disengaged by the Kaduna State Government from the records tendered to us are not qualified teachers.
“They don’t have the prerequisite certificate, competence. They got smuggled into the system but we don’t need to come here tell the world that Nigerians get jobs with fake certificates . We don’t need to engage in such demarketing of the nation.”
The Minister said based on agreement with the Kaduna State Government, about ten thousand out of the number that failed the qualification test have re-applied, and the Kaduna State has re-absolved some of them, promising to move others to others jobs. It has besides recruited more qualified teachers into the system.
However, Deputy President of the NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi who represented the congress at the proceedings of the Committee on Application of Standards, said the congress took the matter to the ILO because the governors were behaving more like untouchables.
He said: “This arbitrariness needed to be checked. We had to come here because if we cast our mind back, President Buhari, out of pain looked at governors and asked them, how can you sleep when salaries of workers remained unpaid.
“The problem has to do with the fact that the states have become lords to themselves to the extent that all our president can do is to lament. Because he is not able to make them do what is right. Some of these bailout funds were not used for the purpose they were used for. We know that at some point in time, the EFCC was trying to follow up some of those who misused these funds, but we have not gotten any result.
“What we are saying is that the ILO should send a high powered mission to Nigeria to assert in some of these claims. Clearly, we had to put some of these things before the international community because if, despite his efforts, the president has not been able to do what is required, maybe if it is brought to the international community, people will have reason to begin to think more reasonably that this is a disgrace to our country.
“How could possibly defend a situation where somebody work for about seven months or more and they are not paid. This report had to take place now because the rascality of these governors and politicians will go haywire anytime from now.
“They are not going to think of paying salaries again and every money that comes in is going to be channeled towards political campaign. So, if you don’t get salaries paid now, it is not likely that it will be paid when campaigns hots up. So, we needed to cry beyond the shores of Nigeria because we are all part of the ILO and they have roles to pay,” Adeyemi stated. The Nation