From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State workers have demanded immediate release of the Nigeria Labour Congress,NLC, kidnapped chairman, Ben Ukpepi.
The workers at a rally held at Freedom Park in Calabar during activities to mark this year’s workers day, flayed at the activities of kidnappers in the state saying they dealt a big blow on them.
Ukpepi was kidnapped on March 21, 2021 at his resident by gun-throtting men numbering about six and are demanding the sun of N40m as ransom. This is the second time the labour leaders gas been kidnapped by hoodlums.
Speaking at the rally, the state chairman of the TUC, Sir Monday Ogbodum, KSJI, and the acting chairman of the NLC, Comrade Lawrence Achuta, jointly deplored the continuous ordeal of Ukpepi and called on the security agencies to expedite action to ensure his release.
Theye said, “The Labour movement in the state was dealt a deadly blow on that fateful day and here we are sorrowing instead of celebrating, agonizing and praying that wherever the evil men have taken him, he is safe.
“In this very solemm mood, I charge the government and the security agencies to do all that is necessary to return the safe return of our comrade”, he said.
The Congress also presented another 9- point demand to the state government to urgently implement in the interest of workers in the state.
These include payment of gratuities, suspension of automatic transition to payroll, implementation of promotion, payment of balance of national minimum wage and remittances of deductions from workers salaries to beneficiaries.
Others are financial autonomy for thee judiciary and legislature, ban on payment of union dues by commercial drivers and tricycle operators, return of motor parks to NURTW and return of weigh-in allowances to radio, television, theatre arts and paper printing workers in the state.