By Shola Oyeyipo
Protesters drawn from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) yesterday stormed the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island venue of a joint retreat of the Senate and House of Assembly Committee on review of 1999 constitution to press home their demand for local government autonomy and other sundry issues.
The protesters led by the state and national leaderships of the various unions who were carrying placards with various inscriptions demanding among other things that payment of primary school teachers’ salaries should be removed from the local governments, that primary school teachers’ salaries should be on first line charge in the federation and unfettered operation of primary healthcare institutions.
The NULGE National President, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel Abdulkadir, said the demand for autonomy for local governments was part of ways to ensure that the resources for local governments hijacked by various state governments could go to them directly so as to enhance the welfare of their people.
He commended the 36 states House of Assemblies for supporting workers’ demand and also, the various unions that had come together to jointly pursue what they consider important to them and Nigeria at large.
The duo of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila who addressed the protesters assured them that the National Assembly would look into their demands with the hope to make necessary amends.
“We are working for you. Primary school education is very important. We understand your plight. We are looking at your demand. I advise that you should continue to engage us. This National Assembly is responsible and responsive,” he assured the people.