The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) made good their threat on Wednesday when they picketed the house of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige over his refusal to inaugurate the Frank Kokori led board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy, VATLAD, has strongly condemned the reported decision by the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to picket the residence of the Minister of Labour (Dr Ngige Chris) which led to violence and injuries.

It said the picketing was not only unlawful and against the Trade Dispute Act of Nigeria and gross violation of the Fundamental Right of Dr Ngige to his private life.

It is also an embarrassment to organise Labour Organisation which are not lawless organisations and not expected to act lawlessly no matter the perceived provocations.

Comrade Igbini Emmanuel, National President, VATLAD, asked that assuming without conceding that Ngige, acted unlawfully to refuse the inauguration of Kokori as Chairman of the Management Board of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, how then does such act constitute a Trade Dispute which allows NLC the right to peacefully picket offices or businesses where the dispute arises?

It must be made very clear to NLC that there are laws (Acts of National Assembly) that established and regulate Trade Unions and Trade Disputes which must be obeyed by all parties (Employers and Employees) of Trade Unions.

According to Emmanuel, NLC should have restricted its protest or picketing to the official office of the Minister of Labour, the Presidential Villa (Office of President of Nigeria) or any Federal Government Office it deems has relationship with the NSITF with a view to putting pressure on President Buhari to direct the Minister to inaugurate Comrade Kokori as Chairman of the Board.

To take their protest to the residence of a government official for matters that are wholly and strictly official, is strongly condemned and should not be tolerated by Nigerians because such act is not only lawless but violates the private life of Ngige and indeed any official of Government and Private sector and including even leaders of NLC who are also not immune from being protested against by their members or employees of NLC.

“Section 37 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, guarantees the Right to Private and Family Life of Dr Chris Ngige and indeed all Nigerians including the leaders of NLC. This Right must at all times be respected except if otherwise directed by a competent Court.

“We also wish to state unequivocally and for purposes of peace and understanding of the issue at stake that this appointment is purely political and not in any way related to employment as envisaged in the Trade Union and Trade Disputes Acts of Nigeria”.

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