The Nigeria Labour Congress, on Sunday, described 2017 as a very difficult year for Nigerians, noting that the All Progressives Congress government ruined Nigerians and pushed more workers into poverty and wretchedness.
It stated that the deplorable economic conditions in 2017 were captured by the statistics recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics which indicated that over four million Nigerians lost their jobs in 2017.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who said this in his New Year message in Abuja on Sunday, noted that the government failed to fulfil its promise of creating three million jobs annually.
He stated that the APC government had chastised and ruined Nigerians through its policies, noting that workers were the most affected by the despondent economy.
“Rather than work to create jobs and improve the conditions of workers and Nigerians in general, leading elements in the ruling APC government, like Governor Nasir el-Rufai [of Kaduna state], have been taking measures to further chastise and ruin Nigerians by throwing tens of thousands of workers into the already saturated unemployment market and wretchedness,” Wabba explained. “For us in the Congress and for majority of working people in Nigeria, the hope placed on the capacity of President Buhari to bring about positive change is being undermined by his government’s inability to address the infrastructural deficit and other related problems in the oil industry, such as making our existing refineries work at optimal capacity by refining products for domestic consumption.”
Also, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria said millions of Nigerian workers lost their jobs, while many others committed suicide due to the untold hardship witnessed across the country in 2017.
The union, in a statement by its President, Bobboi Kaigama, and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said, “The TUC states here unequivocally that Nigerian workers have not only lost their jobs in millions but many even committed suicide when they could no longer fend for their families. It is no news that pensioners (our senior servants), who served this country meritoriously, die on a daily basis, even at verification locations throughout the country. Though their pension is not paid yet, they are burdened to feed their graduate children who are yet to get jobs five years after graduation. This is not the best of times in our country as Nigerians are subjected to various dehumanising conditions. How do we explain that in the midst of the gruelling fuel scarcity, many workers are still being owed up to six months salaries?”
The TUC alleged that some state governors had diverted the bailouts released to them by the Federal Government to enable them to pay workers backlogs of salaries.
It added, “Bailouts were given but unfortunately diverted by governors and the Federal Government seems not to be doing anything about it. Those governors involved in such irresponsible act should be brought to book. There is no milk of kindness left in our leaders anymore. Families die on our roads, yet, they tell us our roads are not as bad as some Nigerians claim. It is only in Nigeria people pay for services that they did not use. The power sector is a case in point. If things remain like this, the congress may have no option than to hit the street.”
It said all state governments should pay the outstanding salaries and allowances to workers before the end of the first quarter in 2018.
“All corrupt political officials should face the music, irrespective of their political affiliations. No more soft landing for any body found to have looted them country. Congress can no longer accommodate this perennial fuel scarcity, especially during the Yuletide or any other time. If it happens, we will direct and mobilise our members all over the country to abandon their cars on major roads,” the TUC stated.