A fiery speech by the President of the National Association of Nigerians Students (NANS), Comrade Chinonso Obasi, calling on government to address the deprivations suffered by workers with specific reference to poor remuneration, an unsustainable minimum wage, and non-payment of salary arrears, leaving the workers incapable of paying children’s school fees, riled workers at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of this year’s workers’ day and triggered a bedlam.
After the speech, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Biola Bawa, who represented the Minister, Chris Ngige, was prevented from speaking. Ngige represented President Buhari.
When Ngige made to speak, he was booed and eventually left.
Even attempts by former Governor of Edo State and former NLC President, Adams Oshiomhole, to calm the workers was rebuffed, forcing him to leave.
In the same vein, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bello Mohammed, who sent Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Babatokpe Ajakaiye, to represent him was also prevented from speaking.
The workers accused him of exhibiting “acts of wickedness” against the workers by issuing pay slips without the pay.
Angry workers subsequently poured into the square in fierce protests which attracted soldiers and other security agencies, who deployed armoured tanks used to warn workers to leave.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were whisked out of the venue of the May Day rally.
Repeated announcements were made for workers to vacate the Eagle Square.