"Okija Priest", Protesters Mock Ngige At NLC Protest (Picture)"Okija Priest", Protesters Mock Ngige At NLC Protest (Picture)
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“Okija Priest”, Protesters Mock Ngige At NLC Protest (Picture)

“Okija Priest”, Protesters Mock Ngige At NLC Protest (Picture)

Some protesters were seen carrying a banner in mockery of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Wednesday in Abuja at the ongoing protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

An official of the ASUU who spoke to our correspondent said they were carrying the banner as a form of protest against the Labour Minister over his inability to resolve the issues between the federal government and ASUU, and for his last Wednesday’s statement concerning the ongoing protest.

He said, “We’re mocking Dr Chris Ngige with this banner because he was against the protest despite not being able to convince the Federal Government for over five months to resolve the issues with ASUU, and also for speaking against the protest last week.”

The NLC had threatened to go on a two-day protest on July 26 and 27 in solidarity with the strike by the ASUU.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that Ngige said he would be surprised if the NLC goes ahead with the planned protest.

ASUU had been on strike since February 14, with parties involved running into gridlock over issues bordering on funding universities, as well as on salaries and allowances of lecturers.

But speaking with journalists last Wednesday, Ngige said it was against international labour practice for the congress to embark on such a protest.

The minister said the NLC has representatives in the negotiation with ASUU, adding that the congress is privy to all discussions with the university lecturers’ union.

He said, “It is a very incongruous situation I must tell you. Why? NLC is on the table of the discussion. They are there. I invited them as the head of the federation to which ASUU belongs, to which SSANU belongs, to which NAAT belongs.

“I invited them. And so, they are on the table as their senior partner. That’s one. Two, we have a National Labour Advisory Council inaugurated in January 2021. It is an ILO instrument, an ILO architecture for labour unions, governments, and the private sector to come together at any given time.

“So, we’ve just finished our meeting in March, and this issue was tabled before them. And the NLC is in NLAC, the National Labour Advisory Council, and much more importantly, the head of NLC, Nigeria, has an affiliate of workers federation, world over called International Trade Union Congress.

“So, I will be surprised if he’s going ahead with his NEC to do a demonstration, knowing fully well that that is not permissible in international labour parlance.”

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