The Uyo sports stadium was yesterday thrown into a rowdy market square as workers of the Akwa Ibom State booed Secretary to State Government, Mr. Etekamba Umoren, Head of Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan, The Special Adviser, Bureau of Labour and Productivity Mr. Enyima Ekpeyong and the Special Adviser on Labour, Comrade Unyime Usoro.
The workers mostly those of the Local Government Service could not hold back their anger when the above mentioned government appointees mounted the podium to announce that salaries to workers have been paid up to date.
The workers, our reporters observed, however refused to extend the same booing to the speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr Onofiok Luke who in his goodwill message noted that the state did not owe workers salaries when compared to some other states in the country who were owing up to seven months salaries.
In his remarks, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Etim Ukpong however expressed displeasure at the attitude of the workers noting that it was wrong for them to boo the officials when considering the efforts the state has put in ensuring that salaries were paid up to date.
“Though we may have grievances, we should appreciate what our state has done by doing its best to pay salaries up to date compared to other states. I have interacted with other states in the country and I must commend our state governor for what he has done.”
The state NLC boss made a case for the payment of promotion arrears and leave grants to workers while also noting that classrooms in the state were virtually without teachers, which he attributed to the fact that no employment has been conducted in recent times.
He decried the non-functionality of FADAMA and the non-participation of workers in the state in the National Health Insurance Scheme. “It also raises question about what benefits the state derived from the Federal Character Commission and the quality of representation or benefit that we have at the national level”.
Meanwhile, the NLC has called on members of the National Assembly from the southern part of the country and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project to join the congress in agitating for a National Hens Rearing Commission instead of Cow Grazing Commission which is in a Cattle Grazing Bill currently before national assembly.
The NLC Chairman in his address said that the people can do without meat as they do not want to see people bring war to the state in the name of coming to sell cow.
The labour chairman noted that Fulani herdsmen have already started trouble with the people of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, and called on state government to intervene quickly before it degenerate to Enugu and Benue scenerio