How Wabba Enabled Food Union Crisis, Video clips, Document Indicate

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THE President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, instead of mediating in the internal crisis that has rocked the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) since 2020 is indeed one of the principal personalities that had enabled and deepened the crisis, a document and two video clips in possession of National Record have revealed.

NUFBTE is one of over 40 affiliates of the NLC. The National President of NUFBTE, Comrade Lateef Idowu Oyelekan, is a Vice President of NLC.

The union has been enmeshed in an internal crisis over alleged breach of its constitution by Comrade Oyelekan whom a group of agitating members operating under an umbrella called ‘Redemption Group’ accused of holding on to power since 2008 by refusing to conduct proper election.

National Record had reported in 2020 how the agitators had approached the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court (NIC) in 2020 when the Oyelekan leadership had scheduled an emergency delegates conference to grant him and other members of the leadership a two-year extension to stay in office so as to complete some projects.

The NIC had granted the Redemption Group an interlocutory injunction stopping the emergency delegates conference scheduled to hold on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Despite the order, the union proceeded to hold the conference between midnight and 3am of August 21, 2020. This was at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic when the federal government had proclaimed lockdown and banned mass gathering of citizens.

Although the Ministry of Labour and Employment did not attend the conference because of the court injunction, Comrade Wabba participated.

In two short video clips of the nocturnal conference, Comrade Wabba was seen singing victory song with some members of the union who backed Oyelekan.

The Director of Trade Union Services in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs Omoabie Udeme Akpan, had told National Record that the ministry did not participate because it was aware of the court injunction

“I couldn’t have been there, and I am sure my officer could not have been there. He is with me right here, the Registrar of Trade Unions, he wasn’t there and I can assure you that as civil servants, we abide by, and are subject to, the rule of law. He [Registrar of Trade Unions] wasn’t there, and he couldn’t have been there, if we had received an interlocutory injunction restraining the people from holding that conference; there is no way we would have been there, that is the truth, we weren’t there,” Mrs Akpan had unequivocally stated.

Asked bluntly if the Ministry of Labour and Employment was served with the injunction; Mrs Akpan said: “Yes; I know that the Registrar of Trade Unions informed me that he has a soft copy of the injunction, so to that extent, we were informed.”

 

Food Union’s Emergency Midnight Confab 2020

Wabba’s petition to AIG

Apart from attending the midnight emergency delegates conference which the leader of the Redemption Group and then the National Signing Trustee of the Food Union, Comrade Peter Johnson Onoja, said enabled the Oyelekan leadership’s ‘illegality’, Comrade Wabba also wrote a strong worded petition to the Zone 2 Police Command headquarters in Lagos accusing Comrade Onoja of criminality and “inordinate ambition to overthrow the legitimately elected leadership of the NUFBTE led by Comrade Lateef Oyelekan.”

In the three-page petition, dated 26th August 2020, written on NLC’s official letterhead paper, with reference number NLC/NS/E.34 and addressed to AIG Illiyasu Ahmed, the then head of Zone 2 Police Command, entitled; “Petition Against Mr. Peter Johnson Onoja for Attempt on Life, Criminal Assault, Hostage Taking, Violent Threats and Vandalization of Trade Union Property,” Wabba said Onoja had “constituted himself as a nuisance and menace to the leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE).”

Wabba justified his participation at the nocturnal conference by stating that there was no court order injunction against conducting the conference.

Contrary to the firm statement of the Director of Trade Union Services, Wabba averred that the conference “was held in strict compliance with the provisions of the NUFBTE Constitution and received the endorsement of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Nigeria Labour Congress.

According to the NLC President in his petition, the union had a successful conference where “Comrade Lateef Oyelekan and other national, states, branches and unit leadership of NUFBTE received fresh two years mandate to lead the union. We understand that Mr. Peter Onoja has added impunity to his iniquities by illegally forming a supposed parallel national leadership claiming he had obtained court order.”

Wabba also stated: “Assistant Inspector General of Police, sir, the truth is that no court order was served on the leadership of NUFBTE. There was, therefore, no legal or moral premise for Mr. Peter Onoja to attack, hold hostage and try to disrupt the National Delegates Conference of the NUFBTE.

“AIG, sir, I witnessed the successful conduct of the NUFBTE National Delegates Conference. I can also attest that the National Delegates Conference of the NUFBTE which is the highest decision-making body of the union ratified the decision taken by the National Administrative Committee meeting of the union to suspend Mr. Peter Onoja and his tiny clique from the union. This further demonstrates the hollowness of Mr. Onoja’s claim to a parallel leadership of NUFBTE, manifestly betrays his disdain for lawful processes and overtly projects his desire to unleash further mayhem, anarchy and bloodshed on members of NUFBTE and the public. Currently, he is threatening to violently take over NUFBTE headquarters and hotel in the coming days. Mr. Peter Onoja has shed enough blood already and should be stopped now!”

Wabba prayed the AIG to immediately arrest Comrade Onoja “for the attempt on the life of Samuel Ezuruike who he stabbed on August 21, 2020;” question, investigate and possibly prosecute him (Onoja) “over his criminal conduct at the August 21, 2020 National Delegates Conference of NUFBTE where he led thugs to harass, molest, attack and take hundreds of delegates hostage;” provide security cover at the headquarters of NUFBTE, and compel him (Onoja) “to sign an undertaking never to threaten or assault any member or official of the NUFBTE again.”

Wabba’s petition reads:

“I write to petition the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 Command (Lagos and Ogun State) (sic) on the criminal conduct of one Mr. Peter Johnson Onoja who has constituted himself as a nuisance and menace to the leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE). The latest of Onoja’s criminal behaviour was exhibited at the National Delegates Conference of the NUFBTE which took place on August 21, 2020 at the Food Union Hotel and Suites Limited, 1-5 Simon Ajayi Close, Gbadamosi Bus Stop, Ojodu, Lagos. Onoja mobilised tens of thugs donning 7-Up Company t-shirts to besiege the 2020 NUFBTE Conference and hold delegates of the union, including myself, hostage for about 8 hours. A preliminary report on these incidents and attacks was lodged by the leadership of NUFBTE at the Grammar School Police Station, Lagos.

“Some of the delegates who were unfortunate to run into his cordon were mercilessly beaten by thugs recruited by Mr. Peter Johnson Onoja. The Edo/Delta State Branch Chairman of NUFBTE, Comrade Samuel Ezuruike was not only beaten close to death but was also fatally stabbed by Mr. Peter Johnson Onoja. Comrade Samuel Ezuruike was subsequently abandoned in the pool of his own blood by his assailants led by Mr. Peter Onoja. It was the quick evacuation by passersby and a few union members that saved him. Comrade Ezuruike was first rushed to Royan Hospital, Ojodu Lagos but after his health further deteriorated, he was transferred to Adavi Medical Clinic, Magboro, Lagos State where he was operated upon and is currently convalescing. So far, NUFBTE has spent about N550000 (Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) on Comrade Samuel Ezuruike’s medical treatment. Attached here are pictures of the savage attack on Comrade Ezuruike.

“The genesis of the vicious attack against the leadership of NUFBTE led by Mr. Peter Onoja stems from his inordinate ambition to overthrow the legitimately elected leadership of the NUFBTE led by Comrade Lateef Oyelekan. This was what informed his barbaric and criminal siege on the hotel property of the NUFBTE where its recent National Delegates Conference took place. Mr. Onoja was forced to resort to these desperate tactics when he discovered that majority of the members of NUFBTE were not interested in his diabolic plans to unconstitutionally remove an elected leadership which enjoys the goodwill and support of most of the members of NUFBTE. As a matter of fact, out of 13 state councils and 76 branches of NUFBTE, Mr. Peter Onoja has hoodwinked only some members of just one branch to join his crusade of infamy.

“The National Delegates Conference of NUFBTE was held in strict compliance with the provisions of the NUFBTE Constitution and received the endorsement of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Nigeria Labour Congress. At the successfully held National Delegates Conference, Comrade Lateef Oyelekan and other national, states, branches and unit leadership of NUFBTE received fresh two years mandate to lead the union. We understand that Mr. Peter Onoja has added impunity to his iniquities by illegally forming a supposed parallel national leadership claiming he had obtained [court order.]

“Assistant Inspector General of Police, sir, the truth is that no court order was served on the leadership of NUFBTE. There was, therefore, no legal or moral premise for Mr. Peter Onoja to attack, hold hostage and try to disrupt the National Delegates Conference of the NUFBTE.

AIG, sir, I witnessed the successful conduct of the NUFBTE National Delegates Conference. I can also attest that the National Delegates Conference of the NUFBTE which is the highest decision-making body of the union ratified the decision taken by the National Administrative Committee meeting of the union to suspend Mr. Peter Onoja and his tiny clique from the union. This further demonstrates the hollowness of Mr. Onoja’s claim to a parallel leadership of NUFBTE, manifestly betrays his disdain for lawful processes and overtly projects his desire to unleash further mayhem, anarchy and bloodshed on members of NUFBTE and the public. Currently, he is threatening to violently take over NUFBTE headquarters and hotel in the coming days. Mr. Peter Onoja has shed enough blood already and should be stopped now!

Our Prayers

“1. Immediate arrest of Mr. Peter Johnson Onoja for the attempt on the life of Samuel Ezuruike who he stabbed on August 21, 2020;

“2. The Police should question, investigate and possibly prosecute Mr. Peter Onoja over his criminal conduct at the August 21, 2020 National Delegates Conference of NUFBTE where he led thugs to harass, molest, attack and take hundreds of delegates hostage;

“3. Security cover at the headquarters of NUFBTE at No. 9 Mortune Avenue, Lagos-Abeokuta Express, Dopemu, Lagos State and NUFBTE Hotel at 1-5 Simon Ajayi Close, Ojodu, Lagos; and

“4. That Mr. Peter Johnson Onoja should sign an undertaking never to threaten or assault any member or official of the NUFBTE again.

“AIG, while we look forward to your immediate response, knowing that time is of the essence in matters like this, please accept the renewed assurances of our highest esteem.”

Wabba’s Petition Against Comrade Peter Johnson Onoja to AIG Zone 2

Allegation of duplicity against Wabba by agitator

The Ogun State Council chairperson of the Food Union and a strong member of the Redemption Group, Comrade Abiodun Philip, had in an exclusive interview published by National Record on March 1-2, 2022, alleged that because of the disposition of the NLC President towards the crisis in NUFBTE, the NLC has paradoxically been portrayed as an affiliate of the Food Union rather than the other way round.

“Technically, the NLC leadership is a great fan of Oyelekan. Because of this, the question in everybody’s lips is: how could our global President/NLC President stoop so low to be literally worshiping Oye? That is what it means, comrade. Wabba attended the illegal emergency delegates conference of our union held after midnight on August 21, 2020 and he did this knowing full well that the court had stopped the so-called emergency conference. This is a conference that the Ministry of Labour abstained from by not mobilising the Registrar of Trade Unions to attend because of the court order stopping it from holding. We have video clips of Wabba’s attendance at the conference, singing solidarity song. If you’ve not seen it before now, we’ll send them

to you.

“I am personally still pondering till today if Wabba was hypnotised or compelled by an unknown force. For what convincing reason could Oye have given Wabba for him to have defied all logic to attend a union conference whose opening ceremony held after midnight? Has unionism become cultism to be conducting its affairs nocturnally?

“Wabba did not stop at just attending the nocturnal conference, he even used NLC’s letterhead to write an official petition against a legitimate member of the union, Comrade Peter Onoja, the National Signing Trustee of the union, to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 2 headquarters, Mr Illiyasu Ahmed, bandying unprovable allegations against him (Comrade Onoja). Up till today, Onoja was not invited or even asked by the police, certainly because they (police) are not foolish and must have seen through the real motive behind Wabba’s letter. We also have a copy of the letter;” Comrade Abiodun had told National Record in an exclusive interview, published in March.

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1 COMMENT

  1. It is unfortunate that Comrade Wabba have further deepens the level of rot and decadence in the Labour circle, history will never forget his roles.
    NLC is in its lowest ebb since its creation

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