Organised Labour and members of the civil society organisations (CSOs) have concluded plans to begin a nationwide protests from next week over the high level of corruption in the country.
President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, at the weekend told Daily Sun that the Congress along with its partners in the CSOs have been mobilising for the proposed protests for over a month.
“By the second week in August, we should be able to mobilise our people to move out to start that protest,” he said.
Olaley, who revealed that meetings had been held with executives across the states, said sensitisation was ongoing to prepare members and the general public to hold government accountable for the high level of corruption.
He said the purpose was to put the Presidency and anti-corruption agencies on their toes to take immediate action that would stop other people from going into the act.
He lamented that not only have anti-corruption agencies been silen, they had also been charged for corrupt practices, noting that if Nigerians continued to be complacent, others would see it as an opportunity to further loot the nation’s treasury.
The TUC boss said the revelations at the National Assembly during the recent probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the collapse of the actingt managing director were nothing but a national disgrace.
Disturbed by alleged corrupt activities going on at the ministries, agencies and parastatals, the TUC president said labour would henceforth take serious action against government policies.
He charged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure current cases of corruption were not swept under the carpet, and that the culprits were dealt with as it is done in most climes.
“We are going to call our members out to reclaim Nigeria from an insignificant few that have cornered the wealth of the country for themselves and their cronies,” he vowed.
He said it was inhuman for government to hike electricity tariff, Value Added Tax (VAT) and price of petrol only for criminals in government to loot the money through award of illegal contracts.
“It shows that our politicians are not our friends. Their posture showed they are selfish people who don’t care for the masses, not having it in mind that we are the ones that voted them into office. We know the way labour was shouting on how government distributed the palliatives unevenly. Workers were laid off without pay. While many companies could not offer any palliative, government also could not give clear palliatives to Nigerian workers in spite of all that we faced during the pandemic.”
He opined that it would have been sensible if they had invested the looted funds in the country, as it would have been to the advantage of Nigerians.
“But after stealing all these money, they invest them abroad, and that is why we are not seeing any positive impact in our economy. They are not real business owners, they cannot set up manufacturing companies, even their structures and estates are all abroad. If they have put all these in Nigeria, we would not be talking about shortage of housing for the masses,’’ he said.
The labour leader also wondered why the National Assembly members would leave the business of making laws to pursue contracts.
“The lawmakers award contracts to themselves, receive payment upfront, but never move to site. How could all these happen in a region without potable water, good schools and road network? How could NDDC spend N122.9 million for condolences when there is no good hospital for the sick? Why should this happen in a region where governors are saying they do not have the financial strength to pay the new minimum wage? Yet our leader, Muhammadu Buhari is celebrated worldwide as anti-corruption czar.”
He also asked its members to prepare for a showdown with Rivers government its refusal to commence negotiation for the new minimum wage.
He explained that there were other issues in the state, but when labour starts the strike and the protest “the governor will have no choice than to dance to our tone. I think now that the government is relaxing the lockdown, labour will also mobilise, we were supposed to embark on strike, but we suspended it because of the pandemic, now that the situation is moving towards normal, labour can appear in Rivers State at anytime to press on the governor our demands because it is our rights,” he declared.
Culled from The Sun