The National President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba has called on the Federal Government to immediately declare a State of Emergency on security in the country, saying much innocent blood is being shed daily without sufficient action from authorities to stop the violence.
The NLC president gave the advice on Friday while fielding questions from the media shortly after the North Central public hearing conducted by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum wage held at the Government House, Lokoja.
According to Wabba, “the primary purpose of governance is to protect lives and property, but the way innocent blood are being shed daily shows that the security [agencies] are not in charge, and this is condemnable because it is the lives of ordinary people on the streets that are being wasted daily.”
The labour leader went on to point out that: “Human lives is something that is so precious, but in this country there are lots of senseless killings almost everywhere, and it seems that nobody cares. We read every time on the pages of our national dailies, ’30 people killed’, ’50 people killed by gunmen,’ and what we see later are press statements condoling [with] those affected. Yet the Federal government seems to have been overwhelmed. Therefore, what we need now is [for] a State of Emergency to be declared on the security situation in Nigeria; these killings must stop.”
Wabba who said no one was safe in the country, stressed that unless the Federal Government does something urgently, Nigeria’s current condition o insecurity will scare away potential investors and cause more hardship for ordinary citizens.
Earlier at the public hearing, the NLC president said the present minimum wage for workers was inadequate and needed to be raised, considering volatile economic realities.
According to him, the proposed N65,500 minimum wage was not too high as some people have claimed, saying the current N18,000 was far below a reasonable $500 per month.
“The problem with Nigeria is not resources but management,” said Wabba. “Our political class wastes so much of our resources on frivolous things; if, for example, the state governors can reduce the numbers of their political appointees and concentrate more on development and workers welfare, Nigeria will be better for it.
“Other states should emulate Jigawa, which did not collect any bailout yet pays its workers as and when due. But we have most of these states who collected bailout funds… and yet [cannot] pay their workers. So, our problem is not resources but to manage it effectively,” he remarked.
Concerning the Union, Wabba said that the “NLC will no longer take any more excuses, this is the apt time for government to dialogue with labour over this new minimum wage and meet our demand – anything short of this will not be accepted.”