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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Labour Blasts Buhari’s Change Mantra, Says Nigerians Are Losing Faith

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Organised Labour commemorated the annual workers day on Sunday, May 1, 2016 and seized the opportunity to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians are losing hope in his administration’s change mantra.

The workers under Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, lamented the untold hardship being faced by the citizens since inception of the current administration.

They observed that contrary to the promises made in the manifesto of the All Progressive Congress, APC during campaign, Nigerians have been faced with an increased rate of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, epileptic power supply, fuel scarcity.

The NLC factional leader, Ayuba Wabba who spoke to workers in Eagles Square, Abuja durig their May Day rally, called on the president to make his actions more potent by providing ‘people-based actions and programmes and not elitist programmes.’

Wabba also implored Buhari to employ discernible strategies and directions to make the citizens understand his plans towards the dwindling economic situation of the country.

According to Wabba, the Federal Government should stop further attempts at privatisation, especially of railways, return local refineries to full capacity and invest in new refineries and in, the short-run, sort out the supply bottle-neck that had made product availability difficult in Nigeria.

He urged the government  to discourage all companies destroying collective bargaining platforms in order to encourage decent workplaces and enhanced terms and conditions of service for Nigerian workers.

On the massacre which has been on the increase recently across the country, Wabba advised that Buhari should set up a special task force to nip the menace in the bud..

He said: “We said that our conviction was that though the war was still on-going, Nigerians now believed that it was only a matter of time before these evil forces are defeated.

“As workers, who have been direct victims of the violence in the North East, we want to use this May Day to restate our call for Mr. President to combine the military success with a marshal plan for the reconstruction of the devastated infrastructure of the geo-political zone.

“The ruling APC government in its manifesto, promised to create three million jobs annually. We have waited one year for the government to bring out its blueprints on how it intends to go about achieving this. Congress will seek audience with Mr. President to get more information on this important matter.”

On his part, the factional president of the congress, Joe Ajaero, who addressed the workers in Lagos State  said: “It is a shame that we have continued to import petroleum products. It is also a shame that we have also privatised it so that the products have become inaccessible to majority of the citizens, causing serious distortions to our economic processes.

“Fuel scarcity has persisted far longer than ever, foisting on our people the most horrendous of sufferings ever meted out to them by any ruling elite in our nation’s history.

“This has driven the prices of staples far above the reach of the ordinary people.  Bread has gone up by 25%; Garri from N300 per paint bucket to N500; rice from N8,000 to N15,000; Milk and Chocolate beverages by about 50% while toiletries and other home products have all skyrocketed beyond the reach of workers and the masses.

“As a nation, we cannot be seriously thinking of economic development, when we allow our domestic manufacturing capacity to continue to decline. We cannot move forward as a nation, when instead of producing more products internally, we allow the existing ones to fold up.

“We cannot make progress when our tastes are heavily foreign. We cannot be talking of economic development when we continue to import petroleum products,  allowing our local refineries to lie comatose. Has anybody imagined what would happen to the foreign exchange market and the pressure on the Naira if we stop this national insanity of importing petroleum products and refine our products locally?”

Corroborating the two NLC factional leaders’ speeches,  the President of TUC, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, said the country was in pains and the masses are deeply feeling it.

He said:  “He who feels it, knows it.  The poor masses of the country feel it in all spheres, and only very close monitoring of the economy, commitment and sincerity of purpose constitute the way out.

“We must start generating significant increase in the income and development of the country. In as much as the present administration appears intent on fashioning out effective ways of checking wastage of our resources, they must decisively check unrepentant saboteurs who have continued to have a field day.

“The truth is that Nigerians are currently in pains, and the pains can only be soothed when the leadership abhors unfriendly policies like those advocated by the BrettonWoods institutions, addresses naira depreciation issues, inflation, corruption, power outages, breach of collective agreements by employers, Boko Haram insurgency and ethno-religious violence, the unwarranted killings in Agatu by Fulani herdsmen, the kidnappings, collapse of socio-economic infrastructure, including our existing refineries, roads, schools, and the drought of petroleum products, etc.

“We certainly do not need any soothsayer to tell us that the current slide in the global prices of oil would have less adverse effects on our economy, if we refine our oil within our borders.”

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