Details have now emerged of the skirmishes reported to have occurred at the 2017 May Day rally at the Eagles Square in Abuja on Monday.
The rally which was attended by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and affiliated groups ended in disarray.
Both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were absent at the rally and were rather represented by minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
President of the senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, and speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, were in attendance at the event.
Trouble began when the permanent secretary in the labour ministry, Mrs Abiola Bawa, was called upon to present Dr Ngige’s address while he sat in the state box with other dignitaries.
The workers became restive and insisted that the minister deliver the address himself with chants of “We no go gree, we no go gree!” renting the air.
Dr Ngige thereafter left his seat for the podium to deliver the address. There were initially cheers for him but soon enough, the workers stopped him from continuing with the address and lamented President Buhari’s absence.
Former NLC president and immediate past governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who rushed to the podium to salvage the situation was also shouted down.
A commotion ensued as the aggrieved workers began to throw empty water cans at the occuP@nts of the podium. The workers also overwhelmed security operatives who tried to control the situation.
As more items were being thrown onto the podium, security agents whisked the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, away through the exit door of the state box, followed by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
As soon as the dignitaries were spirited out of the venue, many unions left the venue without the traditional march-past.
According to Vanguard, a few unions left behind nonetheless observed the march-past without any government official taking salute.
It will be recalled that the labour unions had earlier warned on Sunday that they would mobilise against politicians planning to remove the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list.
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