BY ARCHIBONG EYO, ABUJA – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has described as condemnable and a precursor to anarchy the crisis brewing in the Kogi State House of Assembly Crisis.
It therefore urged the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to intervene and stop the “mess that represents the height of intolerance, insensitivity and impunity, and a precursor to dictatorship and anarchy before it spins out of control.”
A statement by the NLC National Leadership, signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, said “We are appalled by the developments in the Kogi State House of Assembly in particular, and Kogi State in general.”
It went further to state that, “For those who may not have been in the know, last week, the speaker, Honourable Alfa Imam was forced out and a more pliant one installed.”
According to the NLC President, “The offence of the former Speaker was that he had initiated a legislative process to look into the disbursements of the Paris Club refund following non-payment of salaries and pensions and the industrial tensions in its aftermath.”
“But the former Speaker was lucky to have gotten off “lightly” as the House Member, who moved the motion for this process, ended up in Plaster of Paris (POP) courtesy of the thugs dispatched to disrupt the House proceedings,” The statement said.
Wabba, who described the Kogi crisis as a ‘mess’ that must not be allowed fester, called on all well-meaning Nigerians to not only condemn the act, but also ensure the situation is quickly checked by the Federal Government.
“Accordingly, we call on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, commence investigations into the disbursements of bail-out funds (50% percent of which it had directed should be applied to payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities); continuous non-payment of salaries and pensions; endless staff audit which has become a convenient alibi for owing salaries and pensions”, the statement said.
The Labour movement said the “Federal Government should be concerned that the state-contrived industrial disharmony in the state is slowly but steadily degenerating into a political crisis as exemplified by the clamp down on ASUU and the State-sponsored violence in the House of Assembly and other acts of witch-hunt in the State’s socio-political space.”
Insisting that the time to act is now, NLC urged the Federal Government to avoid looking the other way while the Kogi State situation continues to drag on to the detriment of the state and its people.
Wabba stated that the NLC is “guided by the dictum that it is better to build strong institutions instead of strong individuals, because whereas strong institutions protect our democracy, strong individuals threaten it.”