Nigerian Government has warned organised labour against underrating the constitutional powers of President Muhammadu Buhari. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, stated that locking out government officers and picketing as a resolve to industrial disputes would no longer be condoned. He said: “Workers must engage in social dialogue in resolving industrial disputes as self-help such as lock-out of duly appointed officers and picketing are unconstitutional and an effrontery to the constitutional powers of the President who made such appointments. “Federal Government wishes to use this medium to re-apprise Employees of Government and their respective Trade Unions that by virtue of the provisions of Section 130(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“This is as amended by Mr President, who is the Head of State and Chief Executive of the Federation. “Section 169 of this same Constitution created the Public Civil Service of the Federation, while Section 170 allowed Mr President to delegate functions to any Member of the Civil/Public Service. “Section 171 gave him powers to appoint persons to hold offices in the actualization of the contents of the two previous sections”. Ngige, who noted that the recent trade disputes in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) was illegal, added that workers had embarked on illegal lockouts of officers duly appointed by Mr President as it happened recently in the National Population Commission (NPC).
The minister said this was clearly violations of the constitutional powers of Mr President as Chief Executive and Appointing Authority. “The same goes for establishments where workers have threatened forceful ejection, removal of Chief Executives and Permanent Secretaries over promotion, discipline, administrative postings, and even lawful employment of staff.” Ngige added that section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, permits persons to assemble freely and associate with other persons to the extent of forming Trade Unions or Political Parties.