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Don’t force workers to vaccinate, NLC advises FG

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
26 October 2021   |   3:24 am
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, cautioned the Federal Government against use of force in the enforcement of vaccination of workers.

[files] President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba

Education sector workers lament exposure to COVID-19

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, cautioned the Federal Government against use of force in the enforcement of vaccination of workers.

Its President, Ayuba Wabba gave the advice during a briefing on COVID-19 vaccination advisory for federal workers in Abuja yesterday.

Recall the Boss Mustapha-led Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, on October 13 announced that civil servants without proof of vaccination or result of test done within 72 hours would be denied access to their offices starting from December 1.

However, Wabba urged the current administration to employ persuasion and conviction rather than force. He said: “The truth is that despite being imperfect, the COVID-19 vaccine has given all of us a better chance of fighting the virus and staying alive.

“I urge workers all over the world to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and keep themselves, their families and colleagues at work safe and free from the morbid threats of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We urge government and other employers of labour to make special arrangement for workers to access the vaccine at the workplace.

“We urge that the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than force to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccine.

This comes as workers in the education sector are lamenting their continued exposure to the virus amid overcrowded hostels and classrooms.

National President of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), Hassan Makolo, who spoke yesterday on the sidelines of a workshop on COVID-19 and economic recovery in Abuja, organised by the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OYUWA), warned that the absence of concrete steps to mitigate transmission of the disease among students and workers poses grave public health.

He stated: “As I speak, COVID-19 is still affecting our members negatively. Because of the peculiarity of the education sector, our members have to be at work at all cost. There are no measures put in place to protect students and workers. Students have been asked to resume studies using the same hostels and classrooms’ capacities.

“Before COVID-19, the facilities were overstretched. They have now got worse during this outbreeak because nothing has been done to expand them with a view to ensuring social distancing in our higher institutions.”

Makolo called for the extension of payment of hazard allowance to workers in the education sector.

“Our colleagues in the education sector are entitled to hazard allowance because they meet with people from all walks of life amid COVID-19. It is very difficult to go into campuses and enforce COVID-19 protocol, especially social distancing. Most students on campus do not go around with their nose masks,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged Nigerians to embrace COVID-19 vaccination.
President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba said: “I understand some people prefer to view COVID-19 vaccination with caution. Yes, it is important to proceed on issues of public health with great caution. Yet, it would be foolhardy to elevate caution above scientific evidence and facts from public health records.

“The truth is that despite being imperfect, the COVID-19 Vaccine has given all of us a better chance of fighting the virus and staying alive. I urge workers all over the world to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and keep themselves, their families and their colleagues at work safe and free from the morbid threats of the corona pandemic.”

Labour urged the government and other employers of labour to make special arrangements for workers to access the vaccine at the workplace, saying the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than forced to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccine.