27 July 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has directed the striking staff members of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, ECN, to end action as no person or union has the right to query the powers of the President over appointments.
A statement by the Director of Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Samuel Olowookere, said the Minister noted that it is illegal for a section of the staff members of the agency to have been on four-week strike over the re-appointment of Prof. Jidere Bala as the Director General of the Commission.
Olowookere warned that the striking workers who were molesting other workers to stop using unionism as a guise for hooliganism as the government would no longer condone their illegal activities and would not hesitate to invoke the necessary provision of the Trade Unions Act on ‘No Work, No pay’ if the illegal strike continues.
According to the statement, “Section 169 and170 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria established the Public Service of the Federation while Section 171(2)(d) of the same Constitution confers on the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the power to appoint the Permanent Secretary in any Ministry of Head or any Extra-Ministerial Department of the Government of the Federation. It is therefore imperative that all unions understand this and be properly guided.
“It is similarly important to remind the striking workers that Section 42 of the Trade Unions Act, CAP T14 of LFN, 2004 makes it illegal to subject any person to any kind of constraint or restriction in the course of picketing or strike in an Organization. The striking workers should, therefore, allow the non-union members and the re-appointed Director-General to go about their lawful business without further molestation or hindrance.
“We wish to also warn that if the striking workers fail to heed his wise counsel, Government will invoke all its powers to ensure that Prof Eli Jidere Bala who has been re-appointed as the DG of ECN by the President is protected to assume office accordingly.”
It should be noted that the Energy Commission of Nigeria is a Federal Government’s agency saddled with the responsibility of coordinating and general surveillance over the systematic development of the various energy resources in Nigeria.