Labour plans international protest against debtor governors
• Places governors on global watch list
The fear of insecure future when workers retire is a major factor driving corruption in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who disclosed this in Abuja, during the 2018 edition of the Nigerian Pensioners Day, vowed to lead an international movement that will protest against governors that do not pay salaries but embark on foreign jamborees.
Wabba blamed the unbridled corruption in the country on the near absence of social security programmes that are aimed at taking care of basic needs such as housing and healthcare of retired workers.
His words: “If government is desirous of addressing the issue of corruption in Nigeria, government must also address the issue of retirees because the current workers will look at the condition of retirees and now begin to think, ‘will that be my situation when I retire’. That is why people will continue to help themselves. The best way is to make sure that we are able to take care of our citizens so that the workers of today will have the confidence that the future will take care of them.”
As the President of the International Trade Union, Wabba said he has put in place machinery that will mobilise workers’ unions across the world to protest against governors that owe salaries, yet are junketing the globe for pleasure at the expense of the working people.
“As the new President of the ITUC, I have told our members clearly that any governor that refuses to pay salaries and pension, and uses our resources to travel and enjoy himself elsewhere, they should be sure that they will be confronted anywhere they go. In my capacity as President of ITUC global,
we have already issued that notice. Just be on the watch out.
Our workers at the airport should be on the watch out for any of them not paying salaries, if they are leaving the shores of our country, just let us know the country they are going to and we will mobilize workers over there and from the airport, they will be disgraced and chased away. That is the way to go because Nigerians must demand for accountability, transparency and the rule of law. We had more than enough, and we are not a poor country. We are the leading economy in Africa and have the resources. It is all about mismanagement by a few people looting our resources. Looting is no longer done in millions, but in billions, and you wonder what the person will do with it,” he said.
Wabba also frowned at the non-payment of the contributory pension scheme counterpart funding by the Federal Government since 2017.
He said: “Therefore, we want to urge government to look at the issue of the pension liabilities, particularly from October 2017 till date. Those on contributory Pension have not been able to access their benefits because of the lack of counterpart funds. Pensioners are not a liability, but an asset because of their wealth of experience and wisdom.”
Speaking on ‘Pension without tension, without tears: A task that must be accomplished by the union in the years ahead’, as the theme of the 2018 Pensioners’ Day, President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr Abel Afolayan expressed hope that President Muhammadu Bukhara would forward the minimum pension to the National Assembly alongside that of the minimum wage to alleviate the suffering of retirees.
Dr Afolayan also warned against distortions of the contributory pension scheme, which may increase the agonies of pensioners.
He added: “We also appeared before the House of Representatives to fight the course of contributory pension, specifically to ensure that the Pension Reform Act 2014 was not tinkered with, mutilated and destroyed through ill-motivated revisions.”