- As Workers to govt: We‘re no longer at ease with our conditions
An FCT High Court, Maitama, will on May 9, rule on the no- case submission by Steve Oronsaye, former Head of Service of the Federation, facing N190 million corruption charges.
Oronsaye was also the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force, set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He was docked for breach of trust and diversion of N190 million meant for the committee he chaired.
The judge, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck, had on March 1 adjourned the ruling until May 4; again on May 4, he adjourned the case until May 9 at the instance of the court.
The prosecution called six witnesses to prove his case and also closed its case on Nov. 15.
On Dec. 9, the defence filed no-case submission, saying that the prosecution does not have any case against the defendant.
In his submission, the defence counsel Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), argued that there were omissions of essential elements in the charges against his client.
He said on that account the charges were imperfect.
Agabi said that the charge was initially 2- count, later amended to 7-count.
He said that was a sign that something was wrong with the charge from the beginning.
He said that the prosecution did not specify the amount that was entrusted to the defendant, nor the mandate of the committee the defendant chaired.
Agabi also said that no evidence of personal use of the fund that the defendant was accused of misusing,but mere allegations.
He said that no offence proven by prosecution to warrant the defendant to enter defence and therefore urged the court to grant his no-case submission.
Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Offem Uket, told the court that the prosecution has proved its case, adding that the defendant should enter his defence.
Uket said that it was not right to bring up the issue of imperfection of charges now, as it is against the provisions in Sections 220 and 221 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) 2015.
He urged the court to dismiss the no- case submission.
In the meantime, the increasing challenge of unpaid salaries and other benefits, job insecurity, casualisation of workers, intimidation, among other unfair practices, confronting both public and private sectors’ workers in Nigeria is the manifestation of the dangerous trend in the world of work
In fact, besides the melee that took place at the Abuja Eagle Square venue of the National May Day celebration organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart, reports of heightened restiveness of workers across the country is a pointer to the growing frustration of workers at the work places.
Speaking on the development during the May Day rally at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, President of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, lamented that the future of the workplace was hanging on the balance and under heavy threat by forces of greed by both the corporate and individual.
According to him: “Our workplaces are no longer places of comfort but have become places where the working class are exposed to serious psychological and mental torture. Working and the world of work is being systematically stripped of its humanity while the frontiers of impunity and exploitation are being daily extended by the historical forces that have mindlessly pursued profit against the welfare of the majority.
The ingredients that make work fulfilling are degraded daily and despite the centrality of work in shaping human history and the role workers play in this, their conditions are objectively destroyed. It is our belief that the destruction of our workplaces will destroy the society and its consequences for our world that conditioned the emergence of ULC on 17th of December, 2016.
“Our declarations on that day which includes amongst others that; it has become imperative to reconnect the trade union movement to its ideological roots from where it derives nourishment and direction and that there is therefore an urgent need for a renewal and rebirth of the movement in order to recreate a movement capable of fulfilling its potentials to Nigerian workers, masses and Nigeria.
These are true today as they were then in December 2016. This is definitely not the time for bickering within the movement as what confronts us threatens our collective existence both as trade unions and as members of the global community.”
Additional report from Vanguard