By Ike A. Offor
The national Workers Day celebration in Abuja was disrupted for about an hour by workers who have barred government officials represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige from delivering government speeches.
The pandemonium at eagles square occurred as a speech by the permanent secretary, ministry of labour and employment who is reportedly representing the minister that is seated right in front of her in the gathering.
The workers insisted the minister must speak for himself. It was claimed that the minister was representing the President and so, should speak in that capacity.
Even attempts by the former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole did not save the situation as he was also stopped by workers chanting “we no go gree.” Some shouted Ole, Olee -meaning thief in the Yoruba language.
Activities at the Eagle Square was suspended for over one hour, while workers were leaving the venue in droves. Workers started throwing water cans to the officials when Police made attempts to drive them out of the podium.
However, Wabba read an address in which he urged the Federal Government to immediately constitute the tripartite committee for the negotiation of a new minimum wage for the Nigerian workers.
The NLC president added, “Workers also expected that either the President or the Vice-President should have been here because, as you can see, it was at the point when his speech was to be read that trouble started.
“It also points to the fact that workers are actually going through serious challenges. Many of them have not even earned their salaries for this month. Nigerian workers have been pushed to the wall.”
Wabba, who recalled that Organised Labour had sent a proposal to the Federal Government to increase the minimum wage from N18,000 to N56,000 in May last year, described the struggle for a new minimum wage as the most effective action against corruption in the civil service.
The Police force brought armoured cars to disperse the rampaging workers.