In his New Year message to the workers on Sunday, the NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, recalled the deplorable economic conditions in 2017, which were captured by the statistics recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics that over four million Nigerians lost their jobs in 2017.
Wabba said that the government failed to fulfil its promise of creating three million jobs annually.
According to him, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) government had chastised and ruined Nigerians through its policies and 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,” he said.
The NLC complained that despite the huge revenue states had received from the Paris Club loan refunds and other interventions to clear arrears of salaries and pensions, states like Kogi, Osun, Benue, Ekiti, Bayelsa and several others entered the new year with huge arrears spanning up to 10 or more months of wages and pensions.
He vowed to mobilise workers for the full payment of the outstanding salaries and pensions in the New Year.
He added that as the 2019 general elections approached, workers would not forget governors, who refused to pay their earned entitlements while paying themselves, their political appointees and cronies’ huge packages.
In its New Year message, the TUC said that millions of Nigerian workers lost their jobs, while many others committed suicide due to the untold hardship witnessed across the country in 2017.
A report by a local newspaper, the Punch quoted a statement by TUC’s President, Bobboi Kaigama, and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, as saying that Nigerians were subjected to various dehumanising conditions in 2017, adding that in the midst of the gruelling fuel scarcity, many workers were owed up to six-month salaries while pensions remained unpaid.
“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,” the TUC said.
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.
“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,” the union said.
The union said it was worried by the astronomic rate factories closed shop in Nigeria and the billions spent on medical tourism.
According to the TUC, Nigerians are brought back from Libya lame, blind, abused and that Nigerian leaders, who had failed to provide the basic things of life, must be blamed for this.
The TUC urged the National Minimum Wage Committee, set up by the Federal Government, to conclude everything concerning the new wage on or before the end of the second quarter of 2018.