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NLC Protest/Premium Times

Members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) began a protest on Wednesday over the delay in the inauguration of the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Concise News reports that the union had accused the labour minister, Chris Ngige, of being desperate to run the NSITF as a sole administrator because he wants to turn the Trust Fund into his cash cow.

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The union, led by it’s General Secretary, Peter Esan, marched to the minister’s Asokoro residence, on Wednesday, carrying placards with various inscriptions accusing the minister of illegality.

Esan, while addressing protesters, says: “the chairman of the union is also on his way with the last batch of protesters.”

This online news medium had reported how Frank Kokori, a former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union (NUPENG), broke down in tears when he accused Ngige of ‘oppressing’ him.

Kokori had said this at the scheduled inauguration of the NSITF board, shortly after the event was postponed indefinitely.

The minister through his spokesperson, Rhoda Iliya, had accused the NLC of disrupting the event.

Earlier, Concise News reported the controversy surrounding the inauguration. Although the presidency named Kokori as chairman-designate, the labour minister omitted his name when listing those to be inaugurated.

The board was constituted by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in October 2017 in his capacity as acting president. Ministers are empowered to inaugurate boards of agencies in their ministries.

Kokori, a former labour leader during the Sani Abacha military dictatorship, had vowed to attend the inauguration despite his omission, according to Premium Times.

Meanwhile, Ngige, in a statement by his spokesperson, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, on Tuesday night suggests that the NLC’s insistence on Kokori was to allow for corruption at the NSITF. He also said he had already forwarded another nominee for the position to the president.

“Kokori, a labour leader, was nominated by Ayuba Waba and his journeymen to continue their vicious stranglehold on the NSITF,” the minister says.