There was pandemonium at the headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday as the National President, Ayuba Wabba, engaged in a fight with civil servants who demanded explanations over a failed housing scheme for them.
The aggrieved civil servants had staged a protest in front of the headquarters stating their grievances on the union’s failure to deliver the 10,000 housing units for civil servants in Apo-Tafyi, an Abuja suburb.
According to them, in 2014, the then Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, the leadership of the NLC in collaboration with a property developer, Good Homes Development Company, promised the development of 680 hectares of land allocated by the Federal Government for public servants.
Speaking with The PUNCH, Chairman of Concerned Subscribers, Emeka Anuna, explained that some of the subscribers which include senior directors from different ministries and agencies borrowed money and mortgage to get befitting homes after years of public service.
He said that 10 years after the payment they neither got the houses nor their money. While some had died without getting their houses, others had retired or posted out of Abuja without getting their houses.
This, he said, was against the promise that they would get the keys to their houses six months after a 10 per cent down payment.
He said, “In 2014, during the Goodluck Jonathan administration with the FCT minister, Bala Mohammed launched a mass housing scheme for civil servants at Apo-Tarfi, opposite mechanic village and they said between six months to nine months the houses will be delivered. So many of us took out loans and mortgages.
“Right now, the land is there. The contractor, Good Homes, has not completed the project. Since 2014, we have not seen the land, we have not seen houses. Most of us are still paying rent, mortgage and we still don’t have a house. This is unfair and uncalled for.
“We have committed close to N1 billion and counting and for ten years now no land, home or refund.
“We have tried to engage the minister but he has been lukewarm towards our plight and has refused to do anything.
“The attitude of NLC defies critical analysis. They brought us into this scheme because everyone here is either an NLC or TUC member. This is supposed to be their fight but we are doing this because of the systematic fraud because of the inbuilt mechanism to go the other way, we know there are compromises otherwise why are they not here
“Why are they keeping the interest with the developer? Why are they negating the interest of Nigerian workers? Why did they bring us into this housing scheme when they knew it was a scam? Why is it the minister not keeping his promise to Nigerian workers?” he queried.
But rather than settle the issue amicably by promising a refund or ensuring delivery of the homes, the NLC president decided to go physical, engaging the workers’ chairman in a fight.
Wabba who will hand over next month also instructed his security men to bundle the chairman to his office but was strongly resisted by other workers.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Good homes, Daniel Nwokedi could not be reached for comments as his number was unreachable and did not reply to private messages sent to his WhatsApp number.