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Okorocha backs down, recalls suspended workers; as labour unions suspend lockdown

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State

Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha has heeded to the demands by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), to immediately recall all suspended workers and stop planned concession in the State.

This is just as the labour union called off its lockdown on the state embarked upon following the state government’s disregard of the NLC’s 14-day ultimatum issued to it in the wake of the dispute surrounding the sack of 3, 000 workers.

The National President of NLC, Comrade, Ayuba Wabba, read the statement to the protesting workers shortly after the conclusion of their negotiation with Imo Government.

The statement was signed by Princess A. N. Eluwa -Solicitor General of Imo, for the government, Chairman NLC in Imo, Austin Chilakpu, Chairman, TUC, Ezeji Ezeji and eight others for NLC.

Wabba directed the workers to suspend the protest and go back to work.

The agreement stated that government would source for funds to pay workers which would be verified by the joint committee of government and labour.

According to the agreement, government would fund its operations with not more than 30 per cent of the verified revenue for the month.

The committee would apply the balance of 70 per cent in the settlement of salaries of public servants and pensioners.

Economic and social activities had come to a halt in Owerri following a mass protest organised by the NLC.

The organised labour had shut down the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, all ministries and offices including the LGAs and the state Secretariat as workers trooped out for the protest.

The protesters were led by the National President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and other national leaders including the state chairmen from South/East, South/South and North.

They matched from the secretariat of the Nigeria Medical Association ong Port Harcourt road, toward Imo Government House, where they blocked all major entrances.

Wabba had demanded for immediate recall of all sacked workers and stopping further sack of workers in the state without following laid down procedures.

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Oyegun has appealed to Gov. Rochas Okorocha to adopt the spirit of flexibility in handling issues concerning workers.

He told newsmen at Government House, Owerri that workers and government needed to cooperate with each other to get the state out of the present situation.

“If a child is crying continuously and refuses to stop despite everything done to pacify him, something needed to be done”, he said.

Oyegun also appealed to workers in the state to face the fact and have a round table with government on possible solutions that would continue to unite them.

He said the party leadership was concerned about the welfare of the people of the state.

Okorocha had insisted his idea of concession was for the interest of the people of state.

According to him, he never sacked any worker in the state nor owed any but merely suspended them because of indolence.

He condemned Imo labour union for bringing down the national leadership of NLC to shut down the state.

The governor said he was ready to abide by labour proposal to be collecting 70 per cent of the total revenue for the state, if that would bring about peace to him.

“Imo, despite being an oil producing state, gets one of the least allocations from the Federal Government and that has not helped matters.

“For the past 10 months, Imo has been getting between N1.9 billion and N2.3billion monthly with a wage bill of over N4billion.

“The state had to look for external sources to make up to pay salaries every month and take care of its other obligations”, he said.

Okorocha, therefore, stressed the need to make some adjustments in the present situation so as to save the state from collapse.

About Global Patriot Staff

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