14 years after he led the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has defended Nigerian workers in search of economic measures towards improved welfare package for Nigerians.
Speaking at the 2nd Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, National Peace and Security Summit on Thursday in Abuja, the former national Chairman of the All Progressives (APC), traced the high level of unemployment, closure of factories and other means of livelihoods to the insecurity across Nigeria.
He said the closure of factories, retrenchment of workers and non-payment of salaries in the nation has caused Nigerians great despair and hopelessness.
The former governor of Edo State, urged the current leadership of NLC to provide leadership that would hekto to ease out merchants of evil that are benefitting from crisis in the nation.
Accordionist to him, “Who are the bandits? I suspect, that those 35,000 workers whose factories have been closed in Kaduna City, those whose livelihood have been taken away, what are they doing? What will their children and grandchildren be doing now? It’s common sense to know that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
“I suspect that those Nigerians that we abandoned and not provided for them, as you can call them Almajirai or beggars, have all grown up”.
“When you talk about unemployment, the biggest problem is having the biggest population of unemployable because they never had any opportunity of being taught by a qualified teacher,’’ Oshiomhole said.
He sought to know why lawmakers would prescribe N30,000 as minimum wage, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari and some governors for some reasons, would insist that the amount cannot be paid?
He said: “When they deny workers such payment, can there be peace? I submit with the International Labour Organisation, ILO, that the condition for national peace and security does not necessarily need much bullet but decent jobs.
“But when you are at an environment where jobs are being killed, jobs that does not exist cannot even be decent”.
A former President of Nigerian Senate, Ken Nnamani, appealed to Nigerians to support the fight against insecurity.
The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, described the summit as a platform for dialogue for economic reset in the face of daunting security challenges in Nigeria.
He said: “The summit is also looking at how best to support the armed forces in the prosecution of the anti-terrorism war. However, we are concerned about recent plans to relocate the US African Command from Germany to Nigeria.
He said: “The present high state of insecurity in Kaduna State has a lot to do with the penchant by the state government to throw workers out of jobs. As we speak, from 2016 to date, over 29,000 workers have been thrown out of jobs in Kaduna State.
‘’Also, tuition fees in Kaduna State have been increased by 100 percent. What this means is that many children of the poor workers will not be able to attend good schools, while the children of the rich are sent to study outside the Country.
“The implication is that these children who dropped out of school will now be used by bad elements to perpetrate insecurity in the country. We call on the governor of Kaduna State to rescind the decision urgently”.
“Overcoming the Siege of Insecurity in Nigeria: Imperatives of Human and Physical Security” was the theme of the summit.