Be careful, workers warn labour
By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Governor Rochas Okorocha has received a copy of the agreement reached by Labour and the Imo State Government that ended the rift which arose between government and labour over the sacking of over 3,000 workers.
This came on the heels of a call by a cross section of Imo workers on the leadership of the state and national union of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, to “be wary of Governor Rochas Okorocha and his agreements because he hardly keeps any.”
According to a press statement signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, the agreement was a product of the Joint Committee made up of the leaders of the organized Labour in the state, their National leaders and Government Representatives.
“A copy of the agreement was handed over to the governor by the National President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and the Chairman of the joint committee, Hon. Ikenna Emeh, at the Government House, Owerri”, Onwuemeodo stated.
Receiving the copy of the agreement, Governor Okorocha said: “My action, suspending the workers of the parastatals and health outfits was of no personal benefits to me or my family, but to save the soul of the state and guaranteeing the future of Imo children yet unborn.
“No worker in the state will be punished for participating in the protest. The agreement will place the truth on a practical manner because people never believed when I disclose what is being gotten from the Federation Account. I enjoin all governors to copy the Imo formula as it will help to understand every government better.”
But the civil servants, who bared their minds yesterday, when Vanguard visited some ministries, agencies, departments and parastatals, to verify the compliance of the labour/government agreement said such agreements should be taken with a pinch of salt.
“We are happy to be back to our desks today (yesterday). Our happiness will be full when we start getting paid as at when due. However, our labour leaders are advised to be very careful with Okorocha’s agreements because he hardly keeps agreements,” the workers said.
Another staff of one of the ministries, who simply identified herself as Joy, commended the NLC and TUC leaders for successfully fighting the state government to submission.
“It is sad to note that we have a governor that has no respect for labour laws. We have a governor that thinks that might is right. At least, he can now know that the rose flower has a nice smell but it has thorns all around it”, the lady said.
Meanwhile, the last labour strike has unintentionally identified some of the areas the governor, his friends and relations allegedly have properties or economic interests.
Armed policemen, Civil Defence personnel, members of Imo Security Network, ISN, Imo Community Watch, ICW, and Imo Civil Guards, ICG, were carefully deployed close to the properties in an apparent bid to ensure that the angry citizens did not get close to them.
The story was the same at the palatial mansion of the governor located along Spibat Road, Akwakuma, Owerri North Local Government Area.