Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) on Monday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to order.
The NUP accused the minister of attempting to split the body by playing the ethnic card.
The Labour union alleged that Ngige was sponsoring people from his tribe to cause confusion.
NUP’s position followed the emergence of another pensioners’ body – Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPAN), which recently asked the Ministry of Labour for registration.
Reacting, NUP General Secretary Elder Actor Zal, in a statement said: “Our attention has once again been drawn to the renewed efforts by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, to illegally regroup, despite the pensioners’ resolve to remain in one indivisible union.
“To achieve this ignoble objectives, Dr. Ngige deliberately went shopping for few disgruntled elements within the union from his tribe, organised them and sponsored them with government money, including PHCN superannuation fund to the tune of N407 million recently collected by the self-appointed interim president of the minister’s pensioners’ association.
“We want to alert the general public that the effort of the minister is self-serving and is not in the best interest of the country. Furthermore, what the minister is about to do is not only contrary to existing labour laws, it will (also) amount to proliferation of industrial unions.
“This is what the labour law is actually guiding against. Section 3(2) of the Trade Union Act clearly settles this matter when it says “no trade union shall be registered to represent workers or employers in a place where there already exists a trade union.
“For this reason, the drafters of the Trade Union Act posited that there should be only one union in each industry representing the interest of workers in that sector.
“For example, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the university, Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU) for (junior) non-academic workers, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) for all teachers, among others.
“The minister’s intention of window-shopping for ways to divide our union is not only barbaric and crude but the height of insensitivity of a government appointee.”