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Comic relief! Chris Ngige’s ridiculous threat to banks betrays his ignorance of labour laws

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Comic relief! Chris Ngige’s ridiculous threat to banks betrays his ignorance of labour laws

Comic relief! Chris Ngige’s ridiculous threat to banks betrays his ignorance of labour laws
June 11
11:18 2016

 • Why he needs to be schooled in industrial relations

• Senate intervenes to prevent him from committing further blunders

Chris Ngige remains just one thing, and one thing only—and that is a clown. It places him on a far higher plane than any politician. Chris Ngige has caught the funny bug. The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment cuts the sharp, narrow silhouette of an aggressive jester.

Only a jester can be audacious enough to take on the nation’s banks and financial institutions and issue undisguised threats to them, simply because to decided to sack members of staff that had become a burden to them. Although the banks’ action is adequately covered by provisions in Section 20 of the Labour Act, which guides the actions of parties in the event of retrenchment, Ngige in flagrant disregard of the law which envisages redundancy and provides for it in the country’s legal codes, has threatened to deal with banks and financial institutions that fail to honour his directive to them, to suspend further retrenchment of their workers. He threatened to withdraw the license of any bank that continues with the retrenchment of workers.

The Labour Minister apparently suffers the dearth of mandatory knowledge of the nation’s labour laws. This, no doubt, exposes his pitiful ignorance and incompetency at his job. Were he adequately versed in the legal provisions applicable to his portfolio, Ngige would have known better than issue such laughable threats to corporate entities acting within the full ambits of the law. Ngige should probably be sent on refresher programmes by his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to adequately school him on essential provisions of global and local industrial relations and labour laws.

His tutors should endeavour to educate him on such fundamental issues as employers’ rights which includes the right to employ and lay off workers within stipulated rules governing employment contract. Only then can he get to understand that employers are not bound by law to kowtow to his empty, ignorant threats while they are covered by law in establishing and enforcing their prerogatives in relations with their staff. Rather than issue empty threats and embark on ridiculous grandstanding, Ngige and his team should put their heads together to chart a blueprint for the country’s economic revivification. The mass retrenchment of employees by banks and other financial institutions is a direct consequence of the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC) government’s confused, anti-industry policy initiatives. It’s about time Ngige and his colleagues mitigated the impending unemployment crisis by creating an economic atmosphere amenable to the growth and survival of both large and small scale enterprises. His recent threat to the country’s financial institutions betrays his ignorance and incapacities at his job.

While his threat continues to attract widespread ridicule and condemnations, The senate on Wednesday, summoned Ngige, before its plenary, over his threat to withdraw the license of any bank that continues with the retrenchment of workers. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim‎, suggested the decision of the senate in a point of order he raised on the matter on the floor of the senate.

He said, “The Minister of Labour made a statement threatening banks to stop retrenchment of staff. Banking being a very sensitive industry, any misguided statement can have a throwback on the industry‎; it can create a run on the banks.

“As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, we want to invite the minister, the central bank and the banks to know if they are talking about retrenchment and what will happen.‎We want to know the basis of the directive and the basis of the threat.”

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