…NLC chair says it’s not true
Workers in Ekiti State have petitioned the House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts demanding the probe of alleged monthly release of N6 million to labour leaders by former Governor Ayo Fayose for nearly four years.
Acting under the aegis of Ekiti Workers Rescue Team (EWRT), they urged the Assembly panel to summon the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman, Mr. Ade Adesanmi and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Mr. Odunayo Adesoye, to explain how they spent the cash from 2015 to date which amounted to about N264 million.
In the petition dated 23 November 2018 a copy of which was made available to our reporter on Tuesday, the EWRT claimed that N6 million monthly given to the labour leaders did not reflect in the union’s bank accounts.
The EWRT regretted that “the wicked conspiracy and unholy alliance” between Fayose and the labour leaders accounted for why they could not fight for workers’ rights during the last administration.
The group told the Assembly panel that this constituted a moral burden to the labour leaders, who instead of agitating for payment of arrears of salaries and allowances under Fayose, consistently commended him when workers were dying.
The petition which was addressed to the House Committee Chairman on Public Accounts, Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, was signed by EWRT Chairman, Mr. Ojo Ayodeji and Secretary, Mr. W.A. Ajayi.
Attached to the petition was the Auditor General’s Report for the year ended, 31 December 2017 which showed that the TUC received N1 million monthly and the NLC got N5 million monthly under Fayose as “running grants.”
The Auditor General in the report recommended that “trade unions irrespective of their closeness to government should not be treated as government offices.
“The unions are umbrella bodies for workers whose responsibilities are to see to the welfare of their members. Also, members pay dues for the running of their respective bodies. It is tolerable if such bodies enjoy occasional assistance when the need arises.”
The petition read in part: “The huge sum had been released on monthly basis to these comrades without a corresponding deposit in the unions’ bank accounts.
“The release was meant for just one purpose-to pay them back for supporting and cooperating with the government of Ayo Fayose to impoverish the workers of Ekiti State.
“One would have scored the government that approved the release of this magnitude of public funds to industrial unions high and termed her as workers friendly if the purpose is for the betterment of the entire workforce.
“But in contrary, it was meant for sharing into individual pockets of about six people. There was no single record of physical projects embarked upon by these labour merchants for the period of about four years.
“We are protesting and reporting officially to this highly esteemed committee to wade in by investigating and ensuring justice while the perpetrators refund the money to the last penny back to the coffers of Ekiti State for the betterment of the public in general and its workforce in particular.”
Reacting, Adesanmi who said he has not received a copy of the petition denied collecting any largesse from the Fayose administration.
Adesanmi said unionism is not under the jurisdiction of the House of Assembly arguing that any complaints against labour leaders are taken to the national secretariats of their unions.
He added: “They (EWRT) are just chasing shadows, they are a group of former labour leaders who served out their terms and nobody chased them out of office.
“They had raised several allegations including the claim that I received N15 million for my father’s burial. All what they are saying now is not true, not at all, not at all.
“You can do your own findings from the Office of Establishment under which supervises labour matters.”