The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, United Labour Congress, ULC and Trade Union Congress, TUC in Anambra state have been urged to appeal to Governor Willie Obiano to recall the over 161 workers of Willies Work Force, WWF, who were sacked on May 13, 2020 by his government.
The call was made by Civil Society for Equity, Justice and Fairness, CSEJF, a Coalition of five Civil Society Groups in Southeast, in Southeast Nigeria, with its headquarter in Enugu, Enugu State.
CSEJF, specifically appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to withdraw the dissolution of WWF, reinstate all the sacked workers of the outfit in the spirit of fairness and good governance that should not tolerate gossip.
CSEJF, Southeast Nigeria, made up of Human Rights and Justice Advocates, HRJA, Social Justice, Fairness and Civil Defence, SJFCD, Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, CHRPA, Society for Human Right Initiative and Advocacy, SHIRA, and Campaign for Democracy, CD, after an emergency meeting in Nnewi, said what WWF workers deserver for their years working under the sun and rain to ensue free flow of traffic was commendation and improved salary and work condition, not sack.
In a statement by CSEJF after their meeting, signed by Dr Anthony Ogomegbulam, National Coordinator, HRJA, Dr Emeka Anyanwu, President, SJFCD, Comrade Peter Onyegiri, Executive Director, CHRPA, Wilson Akubueze, Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of SHIR, and Comrade Ekene Nnadi, Chairman CD, Anambra State, the group said that the dissolution of WWF and sacking of the workers was ill motivated, ill timed and hasty because the Governor. was deceived with lies against the management and officers of the outfit by some of his appointees.
The group therefore, appealed to Governor Obiano to write his name and administration in gold in the history of time, as his administration is coming to an end, by rescinding and reversing the dissolution of WWF, recalling the workers, and if possible, make upward review of their salary and assisting them with work materials, instead of in sacking them in this COVID-19 Pandemic period.
The statement partly read, “What we expected the Anambra State government and Governor Obiano to do, was giving the WWF workers and the counterparts in Anambra Traffic Management Agency, ATMA, palliative like the commendable palliative the governor gave to youths in all the 21 local government areas in the state, and not sacking the WWF workers because of lies told against them, that they extorted money from motorists to buy the COVID-19 palliatives they distributed, which was actually given to them by good spirited individuals who appreciate their works.
“We also want to remind Governor Obiano that WWF have since his administration succeeded four Commissioners of Transport, namely, Hon Azuka Enemuo, Barrister Chukwuma Mbonu, Rt. Hon. Chinwe Nwaebili who was the former Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly and Hon Uchenna Okafor, who is the incumbent Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation and none of them had any complain against WWF, we then wonder why the fifth Commissioner who has now been redeployed could not work with them.
“We also want to remind Hovernor Obiano that none of the four former Commissiober made any issue out of the outfit writing “Offce of the Executive Governor Willies Work Force” on their Commanders vehicles, we therefore wonder why it became an issue for the recently redeployed Commissioner for Transport who instigated the dissolution of WWF and sacking of its over 161 workers.
“We also want to remind Governor Obiano that the WWF outfit and workers whom he was deceived by his appointees to dissolve and sack were the people that cleared the popular UNIZIK Junction of hold up and brought sanity to the junxtion from October 2nd to 8th 2017, after it defied all security agencies and traffic outfits, and till date that junction has continued to witness sanity.
“We also want to remind Governor Obiano that the same WWF visibly participated in clearing the way to ease his free movement suribg his campaign within Onitsha North and South, Idemili North and South, Ogbaru, Anambra East and West during his campaign and othet assignments under a different Commissioner and no allegation of misconduct was levelled against them until the coming of the recently redeployed Commissioner.
“We also want to ask the Governor and the Secretary to State Government, SSG, whether plying one way in Onitsha and its environs particularly at the ever busy Upper Iweka and Niger Bridge Head, has been legalized.
“This question has become very imperative because it was one of the reasobs why WWF workers were branded extortionists, just because they contravene a staff of Chukwuemrja Odumegwu Ojukwu, who should know the implication of driving one way, but because she knows the former Commissioner and started making calls and it become an issue that will be turned as extortion that subsequently lead to lies against WWF, its dissolution and sacking of over its 161 workers.
“We are therefore appealing to the national leaderships of NLC, ULC and TUC to prevail on Governor Obiano to reverse and rescind the dissolution of WWF and recall all its workers sacked now we are still taking peaceful approaches.”
It will be recalled that the Anambra State Government in a statement dated May 13, 2020, and a public announcement dated May 19, 2020, signed by the former Commissioner Transport, Dr Christian Madubuko, announced the dissolution of WWF.
The statement claimed that WWF, modus operandi is such that centers on extortion of the general public and as such bring disrespect and disrepute to the Governor, State Government and APGA.