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NLC President flees as protesters of failed housing project mar political debate

By Collins Olayinka Abuja
05 February 2015   |   7:00 pm
IT was a show of shame at the political debate organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) its President Abdulwahed Omar had to run for dear life as the subscribers to the failed housing project laid ambush for him. As he approached the entrance of the Shehu Musa Yar’adua centre, the venue of the event,…

IT was a show of shame at the political debate organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) its President Abdulwahed Omar had to run for dear life as the subscribers to the failed housing project laid ambush for him.

As he approached the entrance of the Shehu Musa Yar’adua centre, the venue of the event, the subscribers carried placards demanding the refund ranging from about N433,000 to N1.7m which was the 10% deposit requirement for different categories of houses.

He had to hurriedly leave the premises as the noise and restiveness continued to grow.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Mr. David. Oluwole, accused Congress of deceit and owing subscribers over N4 billion from 3800 subscribers.

His words: “It is disgusting and shocking that the NLC that is supposed to be on the side of Nigerian workers has dragged its own name into the mud, they promised affordable housing, it was over-subscribed because the NLC was involved.”

Oluwole added that many of the subscribers borrowed money from the bank and from cooperative societies to be able to make the 10 percent deposits, which was required for the scheme.

“They promised us the keys by December 2014. We did not see any land or houses and subscribers began to demand for their money. If you enter a partnership and you fail, and the other party is asking for refund, not even with interest, and NLC keeps saying this money is intact, who are they saving it for?” He said.

Buoyed by the protesters, Oluwole demanded a commitment ahead of the delegate conference of the NLC, which start Monday, where Omar would step down as NLC president following the completion of two tenures (from 2007 to 2015).

A Vice President of Congress, Issa Aremu, who pleaded with the annoyed depositors assured that they would get their money back.

“An injury to one is an injury to all. If this has happened to you, the NLC should be the one to lead the protest. I am aware of this problem, I feel so disgusted and disgraced. I am pained that this is happening in the name of the NLC. Your fight is legitimate, if we are guilty or privy to denying you your money, we would not be here, so the burden is on us to get the money back. Before our delegate conference, there must be firm commitment on this money. I am on tape and on honour, so I assure you that if they do not get the money, I will join you to lead the protest,” he assured.

Shifting attention to the disrupted proceedings at the NLC/Civil Society Organizations’ political debate for parties participating in the 2015 general elections, only three parties attended out of the 14 to which invitations were extended. The representatives’ subsequently presented their manifesto to the workers.

The Presidential Candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Dr. Rafiu Salawu said his party would provide 70 million jobs and ensure the establishment of 1000 industries.

The Representative of the PDP, Dr. Kachi Anonju said the PDP is committed to ensuring reforms in the public service.

“We are the party demanding that those who do not have certificates should not swear affidavits. We are the party demanding that people should not cheat, should not come with certificates that are fraudulent,” he said.

The Deputy Director, Policy of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi said the party is concerned with blocking leakages which fuel corruption and concentrates the wealth of the nation in the hands of a few.

He noted that the country can afford to pay competitive salaries to its workers and added that the APC has already worked out the mathematics to provide adequate social welfare.