PH – Makurdi rail construction stalled as workers abscond

THERE were strong indications, yesterday, that the on-going reconstruction of railway lines linking Port-Harcourt and Makurdi, may have suffered serious set-back, following reports that workers engaged by the construction firm, had absconded.

It was learned that the firm was making frantic efforts to replace the over one hundred workers said to have “absconded from their duty posts”, in order to beat the deadline, in line with contract terms.

The legal adviser to the company, Mr. Henry Okoro, who disclosed this to journalists in Enugu, said the workers disappeared from the project sites more than a week ago.

He said the action of the workers was strange as they did not give any notice of strike to the firm’s management, lamenting that spirited efforts to get the workers, led by one Samson, to a round table was to no avail.

“As I talk to you, we cannot say that the workers are on strike because there was no notice to that effect. The law provides for a mandatory 14 days notice, but in this case, there was no such thing. The only thing we saw was that the leader of the workers’ union mobilized other persons and they made the workers to abscond from their duty posts.

“Ever since this happened, several invitations have been sent to them so that we can have a dialogue, but they refused to show up. Even the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, of Railway Police Division, and the Area Commander have invited them for dialogue, but they have remained inaccessible,” he said.

Okoro, while commending the government for consistently living up to its own terms of the contract, said the company would not wait forever, but had to recruit fresh workers to meet up with the deadline.

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