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Labour, manufacturers set to endorse free trade agreement

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• Leadership crisis stalls UNILAG’s SSANU congress
General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, has disclosed readiness to endorse the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).

He told The Guardian yesterday that it would do so alongside the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and manufacturing bodies.

He added that they would make the endorsement after concluding the on-going policy dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

Ozo-Eson explained that, while the labour movement was not opposed to CFTA objectives, it was however against that of the Economic Partnership for Africa (EPA), which is spearheaded by the European Union (EU).

He said: “The CFTA and Economic Partnership for Africa EPA) are the not same. EPA is a partnership that is entered into between African or third world countries and the European Union (EU). This is with a view to ensuring the free flow of commodities and services between the EU and these countries.

The general secretary explained that signing the EPA would put us as suppliers of raw materials and this cannot be in the long-term interest of our nation.”

He added that labour and others were interested in studying articles and details of the agreement to see whether the interests of all stakeholders were adequately taken care of.

He stressed that there is merit in insisting that producers, manufacturers and labour must be carried along in the deal.

Ozo-Eson explained that establishing a free market in Africa is needed to boost the continent’s industrialisation drive.

Meanwhile, the non-academic staff of the University of Lagos has postponed its congress indefinitely, which was scheduled to hold yesterday at the school.

The union, under the auspices of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) cited alleged fraud, embezzlement and the leadership crisis rocking the union.

According to the Acting Chairman, Gbenga Adenaiya, the decision by the university authorities to cancel the congress was taken to avert a possible clash between the two factions and also, to restore unity in the union.

He explained that the house had been in crisis since November 2017, when three principal officers; the chairman, treasurer and secretary, were allegedly impeached.

The acting chairman further threatened that the union would pull out of the national body, if it fails to intervene in the matter.

The union’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Yunusa Abiodun, urged the authorities to reunite the factions, instead of taking sides.

Reacting, the alleged impeached Secretary; Mr. Mazi Uzor, has insisted that as long as the SSANU in UNILAG was concerned, the principal executives were never impeached.


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