Abuja—National leadership of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, has accused Edo State Government of undue interference in the state branch of NULGE ahead of its election, warning of a crisis of immense proportion should the perceived interference continue.
This came as the NULGE National President, Ibrahim Khaleel, called on the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, to immediately pay the salary arrears of local government workers ranging between two and eight months in seven local government areas of the state.
Speaking yesterday, in Abuja, NULGE national president noted, “We observed that Edo State Government anointed a candidate in our own election. In view of that the government is trying to coerce some local government workers to do their bidding. This led to a situation whereby the state local government service commission is now witch-hunting, harassing and intimidating some workers by way of punitive posting, demotion and threat to move some of their services to the state civil service.
“We, therefore, want to make it clear that NULGE as a responsible and responsive Union condemned this act and advice the government to desist from it. There is a difference between partisan politics and trade union politics.”
Demanding the immediate payment of salary arrears owed some local government workers, he advised the state government to face the issue of how the salaries would be paid rather than interfering in their election, which remains the internal affairs of the union.
According to him, “All workers in seven local governments of the state are still being owed salaries arrears by the state government. They include: Oredo and Esan with two months, Etsako West, three months; Uhumwode, Esan West, and Egor four months and Orhionmwon eight months.
“I want to use this medium to also warn all our members that are teaming up with the state government on this issue because of their ambition to retrace their step because the union will not hesitate to invoke relevant provisions of our constitution against these anti-union activities.”
Already, the Edo State Branch of NULGE has written to the acting Governor of the state, Mr Philip Shaibu, intimating him about the alleged interference in the union’s election and persistent intimidation of its members.
In the letter by the NULGE acting State Secretary, Ikiba Ronami, the union said it had observed that “since the lifting of ban in our union politics and the sale of electoral forms to our members, there is a spate of unwholesome political interference in our union affairs.
“Our union is not a political party where unwritten rules apply and sacred norms are thrown to the wind. The membership of the union is fully defined in our constitution and any interference in our affairs by non members will be viewed as a threat to industrial harmony.”