Monday, May 1, 2017 2:45 pm
Celebrations of 2017 May Day was marred by confusion and drama at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday as workers disallowed the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs Biola Bawa, from standing in for the minister, Dr Chris Ngige.
Ngige had declined to address the workers in his capacity as the minister and sent the permanent secretary because he (Ngige) represented President Muhhammadu Buhari at the occasion.
But the workers chorused “no, no, no’’ to the move and instead, demanded that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo should come in to represent the President while Ngige should address them in his capacity as the Minister of Labour.
The workers thereafter continue to chant, “minimum wage, minimum wage,’’ and refused to allow the May Day ceremonies to proceed even when former Governor of Edo State and former President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole intervened.
Also, the workers refused to yield to appeals from other labour leaders, including NLC President Aliyu Waba to allow the occasion to proceed.
The incident disrupted the May Day celebration for more than five minutes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as the workers surged toward the podium to protest the move, Ngige and top officials of the labour union had to step in to calm them.
The crowd thereafter shouted “we don win, we don win’’ as the permanent secretary stepped down from the podium and walked into state box.
NAN also reports that following the incident, many of the workers staged a walk out from the square without taking part in the usual march past.
Also, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Senate President Bukola Saraki left the podium in the midst of the confusion.