The Federal Government has reaffirmed the use of Eagle Square in Abuja by the Nigeria Labour Congress for the May Day celebration.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the announcement on Saturday.
The Minister’s announcement is on the heels of media reports that the FG, acting through the Federal Capital Development Authority, had withdrawn the permit granted the NLC to use the Eagle Square for this year’s May Day celebration, for reasons bordering on the preparation of the venue for the May 29 inauguration of President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Ngige, in a statement signed by the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Olajide Oshundun, said he contacted the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, who attributed the development to some overzealous officials of the FCDA, acting without his authority.
According to Ngige, sequel to his consultation with the FCT minister, the NLC had been asked to go ahead with its preparation for the workers’ day celebration at the Eagle Square, which the President, ministers, other top government officials and the diplomatic missions were expected to attend.
The statement read, “The attention of the Honourable Minister has been drawn to press releases and statements in the media that the Federal Government disapproved of the NLC using the Eagle Square for the annual May Day parade for reasons bordering on the preparation of the venue for the May 29 inauguration of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“On receiving the report, the Minister contacted his colleague, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, who blamed the development on some overzealous officials, acting without his authority, as well as a minor communication gap between the FCDA, the Federal Government Transition Committee and the NLC.”
“It was actually the contractor handling the renovation of the Eagle Square that informed the Transition Committee for the handover ceremony that they erected their equipment even before last Thursday when the Nigerian Army used the venue for an event attended by the President.
“Consequently, the FCT Minister assured the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment that the place is available for NLC to use on May 1st, which is the workers’ day.
“This May Day is the last in the life of this administration. The NLC parade belongs to everybody, including government, diplomatic missions, international organisations, organised labour and affiliate unions and members of the public. The President, Ministers and others cannot shut themselves out. The Eagle Square is still available for all these individuals.
“All invited people should make themselves available for the parade at Eagle Square, most especially the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, the diplomatic missions and the international partners.
“The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment has been in touch with the leadership of organised Labour led by Comrade Joe Ajaero and has briefed them on these developments and equally extended the apologies of the Honourable Minister of FCT for the unintended embarrassment occasioned by the action of their officials who misinterpreted the general intention and work plan of one month of Messrs Julius Berger the company in charge of the renovation of the Eagle Square for the May 29 inauguration to also include May 1, 2023”, Ngige explained.