There seems to be no end to the crisis that has rocked the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), as the President of the Union, Tajudeen Baruwa, accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Solomon Lalong, of siding with the group, led by Tajudeen Agbede, in the ongoing reconciliation process of the leadership of the union.
In a statement that he signed as the union’s general secretary, Anthony Chukwudi claimed that the minister had a private meeting with the Agbede-led group in which he allegedly gave his approval for a delegates’ conference to elect new union leadership.
According to the statement, the directive to organise a fresh Delegates’ Conference when the tenure of the existing executive officers has not expired contravenes the provisions of the union’s constitution.
Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on Thursday also threatened to boycott any meeting with the labour minister as the Congress accused the minister of taking sides with the same faction of the NURTW.
However, a statement signed by the labour ministry debunked the allegations and noted that the minister will not do anything to undermine the NLC.
See the full statement by the NURTW:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NURTW Condemns Minister of Labour’s Bias In Ongoing Reconciliation Process
The President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers ( NURTW ), Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Solomon Lalong of bias by taking side with the Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede’s led group in the ongoing reconciliation process of the union.
“For record purposes, we would like to state here that the Minister held a clandestine meeting with Agbede’s led group of the union on Wednesday, 18th, 2023, in his office, where he told the dissident group to organise a fresh National Quadrennial Delegates Conference in contravention of the provisions of the union’s constitution, particularly Article 8 Section 2(1).
“It is pertinent to state here that the above-quoted article provides that the quadrennial delegates conference of the union shall hold in the month of August of every four years.
“Recall that the same constitution was approved by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in accordance with the existing labour laws.
“According to a reliable source who was also present at the meeting but pleaded anonymity, the Minister unequivocally said the group should go ahead and conduct a quadrennial delegates conference and that.
They cannot, because of one person, allow the unit to die or disintegrate.
“It would be recalled that the reconciliation meeting has already been fixed for October 24, 2023, for both groups, but we were taken by surprise by the minister’s clandestine meeting with the dissident group.
“We would like the general public to know that when such a statement is coming from a government official who is expected to be an unbiased umpire, it will further aggravate the problem of the union instead of solving it.
“Also, we are shocked to discover that Agbede’s led group is still operating unhindered at the National Secretariat of the Union despite the directive issued by the same Minister in a letter dated October 9, 2023, that suspended all the operations of both groups, including further conduct of any election.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the union held its special zonal delegates conference on May 24, 2023, in the six geopolitical zones of the union, while those who emerged were sworn in on August 23, 2023 during the 10th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference at the Ta’al Hotel in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
“We hereby wish to call on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Solomon Lalong, to retrace his steps and desist from the path that would further jeopardise the ongoing reconciliation process in the union ”
“It is most unfortunate and unbecoming of the Minister, who is a lawyer, to be seen supporting and/or laying credence to lawlessness and “civilian coup d’état.
“Similarly, the NLC is not imposing Baruwa on the union as being insinuated by Alh. Najeem Usman Yasin & his cohorts. It is on record that it is Alh. Najeem Yasin that is foisting Alh. Tajudeen Agbede on the union having forcefully taken over the National Secretariat of the union on 28th August, 2023.
“The Ministry of Labour and Employment where the Minister superintends is a creation of the law and he should not be seen acting outside or contrary to the laws by giving contradicting directives.”
Comrade Anthony Asogwa Chukwudi