By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja
The Organised Labour in Kogi has called on government to match words with actions in tackling insecurity in the country as it has reached a crescendo, capable of plunging the country into eternal crisis.
Comrade Gabriel Amari, Chairman of Kogi State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) made the call at the 2023 May Day (Workers’ Day) celebration at General Muhammadu Buhari Square, on Monday in Lokoja.
He said that time was running out and the clock ticking fast towards imminent danger as the hydra-headed insecurity monster had engulfed the country in all forms and all parts.
Amari observed, “ISWA/Boko Haram in the North East, banditry and kidnapping in the North West, Fulani herdsmen attacks mainly in Middle-Belt and other regions, IPOB secessionist killings in the South East, inter-tribal wars communal clashes, kidnapping for ransom all over Nigeria, the list is endless.
He said that Nigerian Workers and their families were most affected directly or indirectly in all insecurities and violence adding that prior to the reign of insecurity, Nigeria was a hub for foreign investments and a tourist destination.
“Sadly, most industries and factories have closed and relocated to neighbouring countries where their safety is guaranteed. The few remaining industries operate at minimal capacity leading to staff lay-offs and pay cuts”, he said.
In Kogi, the Labour leader said it was disheartening and painful to note that despite all the Governor Yahaya Bello’s efforts in the area of insecurity, there were still security infractions in the state.
“It is a fact that Kogi state is an agrarian society; farmers depend on cropping and other agricultural practices to earn a living. Therefore, the frequent attacks by herdsmen on farmers constitute a huge threat to the social and economic stability of the state.
On the forthcoming governorship election in the state, the Organised Labour urged politicians to guard against the danger of turning elections into “a must-win adventure.”
The NLC Chairman therefore called on politicians and their supporters to imbibe the culture of tolerance and respect for the rule of law and implored INEC to conduct a credible election in Kogi.
He said that the theme for this year’s celebration, “Workers’ Rights and Social Economic Justice”, was appropriate, considering the nation’s current Nigerian economic depression in the face of its transition into a new administration on 29th May, 2023.
Speaking earlier, Mr Daniel Alhassan who represented the Federal Ministry of Labour at the occasion, commended the Organised Labour in the state for adoption of collective bargaining which had culminated in industrial peace in the state.
He appealed to the Federal Government to look into the issue of autonomy of Local Governments and the state government to address the plight of Local Government workers and teachers on percentage salaries.
In her remarks, the State Head Of Civil Service (HOS), Mrs Hannah Odiyo said many of the issues raised by the NLC Chairman had already been addressed by the government.
Odiyo said revealed that Governor Yahaya Bello had been working hard to make life better for workers in the state adding the government had entered into partnership with a private estate developer to provide more owner-occupier houses for the workers.
A Human Rights activist, Mr Idris Miliki in his goodwill message urged labour to always engage leaders and duty bearers on leadership saying it was disheartening that in spite of the presence of Rivers Niger and Benue, there was hardly potable water to drink.
Miliki who is also the Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) urged government should look into the welfare of workers beyond salary payments.
He also urged the government to tackle the issue of perennial flooding of the state by waters from the Rivers Niger and Benue to avert further hardship on the people.
The Nigerian Pilot reports that the May Day celebration also featured colorful march past by workers from affiliate bodies of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state. (Ends)