The organised Labour in Cross River state has charged Governor Ben Ayade and the security operatives in the state to ensure the immediate release of the Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, who was kidnapped on March 21, 2021 and a ransom tag of N150 million put on his head by his abductors.
They made the demand in Calabar, Saturday, in a statement signed by the NLC Vice Chairman, Comrade Lawrence Achuta, and TUC Chairman, Sir Monday Ogbodum, during a solidarity rally in honour of Comrade Ukpepi and Nigerian workers in the state, and which was also used to commemorate the 2021 May Day celebration
The statement, which was made available to Journalists at the rally, said, “the NLC Chairman, a man with a humble mien, who put the welfare of others before his own, a man who cannot hurt a fly, has been in the hands of his abductors for more than one month now.”
The Labour leaders also said, “the labour movement in the state was dealt a deadly blow on that fateful day and here we are sorrowing instead of celebrating, agonising and praying that wherever the evil men have taken him, he is safe.
“We want to use this occasion and in this very somber mood to charge the government and the security agencies to do all that is necessary to ensure the safe return of our Comrade the NLC Chairman.
“Furthermore, while we commend the achievements of Operation Akpakwu in stemming the rate of kidnapping and other criminal acts in Calabar metropolis, we call for the extension of their operations to Akpabuyo, Bakassi and environs
as these criminal elements have made these places their haven.
“We equally call on the State government to do more in the security of lives and properties of the citizenry as this remains the cardinal obligation of government.”
Other demands of the organised labour included prompt payment of pensions and gratuities, suspension of automatic transition to pension payroll, remittances of deductions from workers’ salaries to beneficiaries, payment of the balance of national minimum wage, implementation of promotion, financial autonomy for the Judiciary and Legislature, amongst others.