Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has denied inviting thugs to attack protesting members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
The workers on Wednesday rallied in front of Ngige’s residence in Asokoro area of Abuja, protesting the failure of the minister to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSTIF) with Frank Kokori as the chairman.
Hoodlums, suspected to be loyal to Ngige, attacked the workers during the protest, some were reportedly shot at, while others sustained injuries and were taken to the National Hospital in Abuja for treatment.
However, the Minister, in a statement by his Special Assistant Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe stated that the minister never invited thugs to beat up the protesters, accusing the NLC leadership of leading those he described as strange faces to invade his house.
The statement said further that the invasion of his house left his family members and staff traumatised by the invaders chanting “war songs”.
The statement reads: “The private residence of the Hon. Minister of labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige was early this morning (4 a.m.) invaded by the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and his members.
“These members among whom are tanker drivers, some with ferocious looks, also barricaded the gate to the residence of the Hon. Minister with two long trucks. They chanted war songs and prevented the Hon. Minister, his wife, children and other aides from either leaving or gaining access to the compound.
“Comrade Wabba later left and returned with re-enforcement.
“The presence of these strange faces and mounting war songs sent heavy panic on the family members, especially children and female aides who thought the sudden early morning assemblage were of the underworld.
“Some of these unknown faces and the two tanker lorries blocking the entrance to the house are still there as I send this press statement.
“I therefore wish to state that contrary to reports being mischievously circulated in the media by the NLC President, the Hon. Minister, family members who are still in great trauma and his staff members did not invite thugs, have no knowledge of it, or have a hand in the alleged manhandling of any worker.”
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