Poor Nigerians now 187m with fuel subsidy removal, others

… as NCSU celebrates 111th anniversary, urges FG to arrest economic crisis

By Nudoiba Ojen

The 111th anniversary of the Nigeria Civil Service Union celebrated at its headquarters in Abuja and across the states on Saturday, August 19 was yet another opportunity for the labour leaders to reflect on the state of the country and proffer far-reaching solutions.

The NCSU, beyond looking back at its struggles and accomplishments in the last 111 years, used the august occasion to address the welfare needs of its members, civil servants, across the country to ensure they enjoy good lives at all times.

NCSU National President, Comrade Sunday Adeleye Oluwole and General Secretary, Comrade Ibraheem Mohammed Bomoi, called on the Federal Government to quickly address the present economic crisis bedeviling the country to avoid social unrest.

The NCSU leaders also urged the Federal Government “to see wisdom in some solutions proffered by the Organized Labour in Nigeria towards moving the nation forward”.

The labour leaders spoke in a communique at the end of the celebration of 111 years existence of the union, with the theme, “NCSU @ 111 years in the place of history: The progenitor of nationalists and trade union movements in Nigeria”.

Oluwole and Bomoi warned that the present situation in the country might snowball into spontaneous social unrest if not quickly addressed by the Federal Government.

They listed the issues needing urgent attention to include “bringing back to life the four monumental refineries, reversal of tuition fees increment, wage award to workers to address present economic hardship, upward review of living wage and rolling out sustainable impactful palliatives to mitigate the present economic hardship”.

The NCSU lamented that recent independent research showed that “critical issues affecting the country, ranging from fuel subsidy removal and its attendants effects on the entire populace had further increased the number of multi-dimensionally poor Nigerians to 187 million (out of over 200 million Nigeria population).

“The economic hardship has dehumanized the entire populace; there is high transportation cost, high cost of living, Nigerians are presently traumatized psychologically. The meeting hereby calls on Federal Government to address the issue squarely by fixing the four Nigeria refineries, rejig the economy with sound economic policy and review the living wage for workers.”

Among other resolutions, “the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by Comrade Joe Ajaero and entire Organized Labour in Nigeria in consonance with their positions on the present state of the nation.

“The meeting expressed its reservation over the new trend of abuse of roles by the Nigeria Police and the Judiciary as manifested in their activities in recent time, gradually rendering Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment inactive in carrying out its statutory functions.

“The meeting also called on the office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation to desist from meddling with the right of unions to organize its members within the framework of their respective constitutional provisions especially as far as the tenure of its elected members are concerned”.

Consequent upon the above, the meeting advocated for the state of emergency to be declared to enable stakeholders in Trade Union movements arrest this ugly trend in industrial relations practices in Nigeria.

“The meeting discussed the genesis of crisis bedeviling the Union in the Federal Inland Revenue Services and called on FIRS management to extend its olive branch by obeying the court order that directed the management of FIRS to allow NCSU to operate in FIRS to allow fair weather industrial relations practices in line with international best practices.

“The meeting expressed the commitment of the national leadership of the Union, more than ever before, to begin empowerment programme that will guarantee self reliance of members of the Union to engage in trade work that can bring income to the family aside from monthly salaries while interests and welfare of members and staff of the Union will be prioritized in line with the vision and mission of the Union”.

To this end, the union will focus on gender equity and equality while women empowerment will be used as a template to kickstart the programme.

The meeting appreciated founding fathers of the Union in persons of Henry Libert, David Ojeli and other subsequent national presidents, general secretaries, elected leaders, employees and members of the Union that have sacrificed, worked days and nights for the development and survival of the Union over the years.

Earlier, the special Guest of honour and member, House of Representatives (representing Apa Agatu Federal Constituency), Comrade (Pastor) Ojema Ojotu, admonished leaders at all levels to always work towards adding value to the system in order to make remarkable positive impact in the lives of humanity, the country and the organisation.

Ojotu, a trade unionist and former State Chairman of the Union, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council and former Commissioner for Youth in Benue State before his election into the National Assembly, congratulated the national leadership of NCSU and the entire stakeholders.

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