The Nigerian Labour Congress has raised concern over the deplorable condition under which workers in Abia State currently operate, describing it as unfriendly.
The trade union said that not only had the Abia State government failed to implement the minimum wage, it had declined to pay workers as and when due.
The President of NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, raised the concern during a public lecture organised by the National Industrial Court of Nigerian as part of activities marking its 2022/2023 Legal Year which ended on Friday, with the theme, “Labour justice and socio-economic development.”
According to him, judges in Abia state were being owed over 18 months, schools closed and doctors owed over 12 months salaries.
Wabba recalled that on a particular day, he ran into a Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, who told him about the sorry state of affairs in Abia State Judiciary.
He said the judge told him that because judges in Abia state have not been paid for about 18 months, she had to send stipends to support some of them.
Wanna said, “In that state too, doctors have not been paid for more than 12 months. That is the reality, and schools are closed. And she (the Judge) demanded to know what the labour movement in the State and the NLC were doing on the Abia case.
“I quickly checked and found out that the NLC Chairman in the state has retired from service. But, because he is doing the bidding of the government, he approached the government in writing to give him an extension.”
Wabba added that when they heard of the development, the NLC National Executive Council objected to the Abia State Chairman’s request on the grounds that he has retired and that the position of the law is that a retired person cannot continue to lead workers.
The NLC president said rather than allow reason prevail, the Abia NLC Chairman went to court and obtained a perpetual injunction retaining him in office.
He argued that in such a case, the court has failed in its responsibility to always dispense justice.
Wabba said that the economy of nations flourish where labour rights were protected.
He urged the court to always dispense justice without fear or favour to ensure a harmonious relationship in the workplace.