By Our Reporter
President, Nigeria Labour Congress [NLC], Comrade Ayuba Wabba has called on the Federal Government to set up a process to oversee the full implementation of the yet to be released N500 billion Paris Club funds to states, for payment of salaries and pensions arrears of workers to forestall diversion by governors.
He also urged the Federal Government to extend the anti-graft war by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to states, to ascertain whether the first tranche of the Paris Club funds released last year, was spent for the settlement of salaries and pensions of retired workers as President Muhammadu Buhari had directed.
With the second tranche of the money about to be released, the NLC boss maintained that government at the center should establish a mechanism to audit states to ensure that the first tranche was judiciously spent for the settlement of outstanding salaries, pensions and gratuity of workers.
He also said that, labour was ready to begin aggressive campaign to attract the federal government’s attention to the fact that, corruption must be fought at all levels including the states and local governments in the country.
“What we are saying is that, the federal government should make sure that, the first tranche that was released is accounted for, because there were controversies that N19 billion was diverted by the Governors’ Forum.
“Outside the goodwill to make the funds available, the issue of transparency and accountability in governance which is lacking in some states, must be pursued. Government must be proactive to ensure that government at the center is able to be on top of the situation to demand accountability.
“We are going to start our agitation very seriously and rigorously to the fact that if you are fighting corruption, it must be at all levels, it must scale down to the states, they must continue to see workers as partners in progress, as people that create wealth and not liabilities; and therefore workers right must be given priority, if not we won’t have social stability, cohesion and we will not go out of recession”, the NLC boss stated.
He pointed out that, the current economic quagmire being experienced by Nigerians is man-made due to the mismanagement by past leaders, and would take a focused leader to put things right.
“If the economy was mismanaged by people, it will take the act of people to put the economy back on track; you will not expect God to come to correct what we have done. It will take good leaders with focus, transparency and accountability to be able to address the situation”, he stressed.
Also, the out gone President of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Anthony Emmanuel Nted, expressed his appreciation to the members noting that, the survival of the country’s economy depends on the effectiveness of the maritime sector, as the country’s maritime sector had suffered inconsistencies in government policies.
According to him, “Any government policy that affects efficiency of the Ports and quality service delivery is bound to have collateral effect on the entire economy.
‘‘What the country’s Ports was passing through was not because of its facilities, workers or stakeholders, but unrefined government policies that have made it very difficult for the Ports operators and managers to operate and function optimally”.
Comrade Nted however, listed some of his achievements during his tenure as the president to include; training of about 6000 members of the union in various capacity building programmes locally, while 300 also attended overseas training respectively.
He enjoined the incoming executive to take a cue from him by exhibiting sportsmanship and, keep the union as one indivisible family.