The federal government has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to cancel its planned protest over the prolonged strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other university-based unions.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, made the appeal Thursday at a meeting with the leadership of NLC in his office.
Also in attendance at the meeting were the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms Kachollom S. Daju.
The minister updated the labour leaders on the efforts so far made by the Federal Government to resolve the impasse in the university system, saying that efforts were still ongoing.
The minister reminded the NLC leadership that he incorporated them into the tripartite conciliation going on in his Ministry, and being very much aware of efforts of the government to resolve the impasse, they were not expected to embark on any rally or protest.
He further told the labour leaders that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) mandated him to notify them of the serious security implications of the planned protest.
According to him, a security report also sent to his office by the Department of State Services (DSS), strongly warned against holding the protest, slated for July 26 and 27.
The minister urged the NLC National Executive Council (NEC) to reconsider the planned rally as hoodlums, opposition politicians and fifth columnists might take advantage of it to wreak havoc in the country.
Responding, the Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Najeem Usman Yasin, and General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboajah, assured the government of a peaceful protest by the congress, saying that infiltrators would not be allowed to participate in it.
Ugboajah said NLC appreciates all the efforts of the minister towards the resolution of the industrial actions in the university system and pleaded with him not to hands off the conciliation.
“We commend you for championing the harmonisation of salaries of workers in the country. We do not understand why a messenger in NNPC or Central Bank should be earning more than a level 8 officer in the Ministry,” he said.
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