The Nigeria Labour Congress has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari not to return Dr Chris Ngige as the Minister of Labour and Productivity in the next cabinet.
It warned that returning the former Anambra State governor as minister would create industrial crisis, adding that Ngige lacked the approach to lead workers.
Towards the end of Ngige’s term as labour minister, there were clashes between him and labour leaders over his postponement in inaugurating the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund more than three years after the expiration of the tenure of the last board. Labour also took on him over his exclusion of Frank Kokori as the chairman of the board. The union held a protest against him in his house which led to a fracas that landed some NLC members at the National Hospital in Abuja after they were allegedly attacked by thugs. President of the NLC, who led the protest alleged that the thugs were sent by Ngige to attack NLC members.
The Nigeria Medical Association, National Association of Resident Doctors, labour unions and some Nigerians also took on Ngige over his remark on a televised programme that Nigeria had no problem with doctors moving abroad for greener pastures because there were enough of them in the country to man hospitals.
When contacted, the Personal Assistant to Ngige, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, said Ngige had no power to assign a ministry to himself, adding that all the problems that the ministerial nominee had with labour unions were settled before the end of his first term in office as a minister.
However, the Secretary of the NLC, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson has urged the Federal Government to assign Ngige to another ministry to avert industrial actions.
He said, “We think that government will be looking for problem if Ngige is returned to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity as minister because he does not understand how the place works and his own approach will create unnecessary industrial crisis.
“If government is properly advised, it should look for where to put him. Ngige is a square peg in a round hole in the ministry.”