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From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has stressed the need for the organised labour to partner with the stat government to chat a way forward for resolving the ongoing workers’ indefinite strike in the state.
Governor Ortom stated this, on Monday, during a meeting with national leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC),led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, at the New Banquet Hall of the Government House, in Makurdi.
While maintaining that no member of his cabinet had been sleeping since the impasse between Labour and state government arising from non payment of workers’ salary began, the governor said whatever conflict or misunderstanding there might be, could only be resolved through dialogue.
His words,”Whatever conflicts or misunderstanding one night have, it is only through dialogue that we can chart a way forward. What we are doing here today will definitely help us to chart a way forward and everybody will go out to smile. No member of my cabinet has been sleeping with his or her two eyes closed as a result of the plig ht of the workers in the state.”
He expressed assurance that the coming of the national leadership of the organized labour to the state would help chart a way forward to ensure a good resolution of the matters at stake.
On his part, the NLC President, Wabba, who noted that the issues of pension and salary deserved to be given priority, said it was for that reason that the labour leaders had agreed to come to dialogue with the state government to fashion a way forward even as he urged government to come with an open mind with a view to resolving the issues.
According to Wabba, “The issue of workers salary is not just right but something that can keep body and soul together. Those concerned are citizens of Benue state. So, whatever priority given to it is one that is well deserved. That is why we have come to dialogue with the government to find appropriate way and means to solve the situation and we trust it would be a win win situation.
“We need to understand the issues and we were to communicate you officially and that was what we did through our letter. It is our firm belief that those issues would be amicably resolved. We will address the issues and the substance of the issues especially as it bothers on the welfare of workers of Benue state,” Wabba said.
Also speaking, the TUC President, Kaigama said they had come to appreciate the problems bedeviling the state regarding salaries and pensions and expressed the belief that there is no other way issues of this nature could be solved other than through dialogue.
“We are here to see what are the facts and what are the data from the two ends. We have heard and we pray the two sides would be very factual, open and receive each other with an open mind to the benefit of the Benue citizens as a whole.
“There is no facts and figures that Benue state government would hide from us that we are not aware of because we have been to the four walls of university. The most important thing is for both parties to be open and factual so that we would find a way out of the woods,” he stated.
At the time of filing this report, a closed door meeting between government and the leadership of the organized labour was ongoing at the government house.