NLC Conference: Delegates Throw Chairs At One Another Over Housing Scam

NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar

NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar

The conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, went into a rowdy session over issues pertaining to the N2.6 billion failed housing project of the union expected to be developed in partnership with private property developer, Kriston Lally.

Delegates threw chairs at one another as disagreement deepened on the failure of the NLC leadership to reveal all in the financial report submitted to the conference in session.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had earlier, reportedly invited the outgoing president, Abdulwahed Omar, over the botched deal, a development confirmed by Omar himself, as he tried to calm angry delegates.

“This morning, even the EFCC invited me to ask where is the man (Kriston-Lally Managing Director). Anytime the security agencies get this money, they will use their instruments to authorize refund to this account. It is under investigation by the Directorate of State Security Service, the EFCC and the office of the National Security Adviser,” Omar said.

A delegate from the National Union of Electricity (NUEE) had during the meeting queried why the scam was not mentioned in the financial report presented to the Congress in Session. But the outgoing Treasurer, Wabba Ayuba, who is also contesting the presidency said, “It is a separate account and not about the income and expenditure of the NLC. The issue is in public domain. About N2.6 billion is still saved in Access Bank. The other account is being investigated.”

However, his explanation was not good enough for some delegates, including the president of NUPENG, Igwe Achese who is also the Trustee in the out-going executive and a signatory to NLC accounts.

Achese insisted that since NLC is a signatory to the Kriston-Lally Account, “we have a responsibility. What I am saying is that even if the money is safe, the total money is not safe. Some portion of it is still intact about N2.5 billion, but the total sum of the money is not N2.5 billion. Nigerian workers must be prudent, Nigerian workers must have integrity.”

Supporters of Ayuba, however, shouted him down and his own supporters countered. This led to the throwing of chairs and other objects, that made delegates, including international guests, to scamper to safety.

Omar on his part, called in the police to restore order.

The financial report was later adopted after a vote that Omar claimed was won by the ayes.

The violent display by delegates signals the first time in the 37 years history of the NLC that such physical engagement would happen.

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