September 10, 2015

NASS protest: We stand by Ajaero NLC faction – NUPENG

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS — NIGERIA Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday, in Lagos, said its members fully stood by the decision of the leadership of the Joe Ajaero-led faction of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, not to participate in today’s anti-corruption protest being organised by the National Assembly in collaboration with Ayuba Wabba faction of NLC.

In a statement by its President, Mr. Igwe Achese, NUPENG said NLC should be more concerned with the payment of backlog of unpaid salaries and allowances to workers, lamenting that public sector pensioners had also not been paid their arrears.

It would be recalled that the Ajaero faction had over a week ago declared that “to collaborate with the National Assembly to protest against corruption when they have not allowed their salaries to fall in line with the minimum wage, is wrong. If we do that, that is hypocrisy at its highest level.

“We are saying this without mincing words. The two NLC factions can still meet and agree on a date to protest in support of the anti-corruption fight by President Muhammadu Buhari, but not to be hypocritical about it.

“Before we do that, we must cleanse our house; we must make sure that the allegations over the Kriston-Lally Housing issue, over the Labour City Transport, and NLC election rigging and all others that have been destroying labour are cleared.

“Part of the issues that Comrade Oshiomhole and others looked into and which we all agreed to, was that we must go through the ethics of the movement, the rule of law and procedures in handling issues.

“If we have not gone into all these ones and we want to play to the gallery that we are protesting in support of anti-graft efforts, we think the public will mock us and that is not  the kind of NLC some of us want to see.

“The issue is that the other party (Wabba faction) did not consult with us. They were supposed to consult before we even take certain decisions in the spirit of  reconciliation.

“No party was supposed to fix a date to take an action without the two factions rubbing minds. But if one party goes out and takes a decision, it may be a good decision, but that  may not be in line with the ideals of the other faction.”

According to Achese: “The Ayuba-led NLC should purge itself of corruption involving Kriston- Lally housing project scam and that of Good homes project. NLC is neck deep in corruption on the housing project and has no moral justification to embark on an anti-corruption rally.

“The Wabba faction of NLC should purge itself of corruption and not dance naked in the market place.

“We salute the courage of Nigeria workers and advise them to be vigilant.”

NUPENG advised “Nigerian workers not to allow themselves to be dragged into an unholy demonstration.”