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Ngige’s re-appointment: Why we have accepted President’s decision, by labour

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige. Photo/Twitter/LabourMinNG

There might not be a hostile environment for Dr Chris Ngige when he formally resumes duties on Monday as the Minister of Labour and Employment.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which is yet to congratulate Ngige on his reappointment, would not be unnecessarily difficult though there is no love lost between the labour centre and Ngige.

Speaking with The Guardian on the reappointment of Ngige, the General Secretary of the NLC, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, said that despite the history between Congress and Ngige, the labour movement would not unnecessarily antagonise the Minister.

He said: “We felt that Dr Ngige should not be reappointed Minister, but now that Mr. President has reappointed him, we have to accept that. We know it is the prerogative of the President to appoint whomsoever he wishes and that is respected. However, we will engage the Minister for the betterment of the working people of this country.”

Meanwhile, more accolades have continued to trail Ngige’s appointment. While welcoming him back to the Ministry, the Board Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Austin Enajemo-Esire, lauded the Minister for repositioning the Fund on a sound footing that would enable it to deliver on its mandate.

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has also congratulated the Minister. TUC President, Quadri Olaleye and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said the reappointment of Ngige is a proof of his commitment and contribution to the ministry, workers and the nation at large.

The trade centre was quick to draw the attention of the Minister to the challenges confronting workers in the country especially the minimum wage and the need to address them.

“We must not fail to draw his attention to the wide range of challenges confronting the labour movement in Nigeria. The ministry under his watch must, as a matter of urgency, brace up for the task ahead. It is imperative to state here that we are not happy that months after the New Minimum Wage was approved by the Federal Government, the issue is still foot-dragging over parity. His presence must make a difference.”

TUC also pointed at casualisation, outsourcing and pension as other challenges confronting the movement.

It bemoaned the loss of jobs by its members, saying: “This has to be checked if we must put a stall to acts of criminality. Posterity will be fair to him if he protects and creates more jobs instead of losing the existing ones. We must not forget that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

The centre declared that while there are serious tasks ahead, it shall continue to count and trust in Ngige’s wisdom, adroitness and proficiency to provide the Midas touch needed to positively turn around the ministry for the good of all.

Overwhelmed by the outpouring of goodwill, the Minister described all labour centres and unions in the country as “family members.”

He explained that as a family, disagreements occur from time to time, but the family remains one, adding that the disagreement between him and NLC was in the past.

He added: “We will extend our hands of friendship to all the labour unions. Before I left, we had some family dispute. There is no family that has no problem, however, we have resolved it in a family way and will ensure the wounds heal permanently.”


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