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Nigerians celebrate May Day in style

The Federal Government has commended the patience and resilience of Nigerian workers on the occasion of the 2022 Workers Day Commemoration.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige gave the commendation at Eagle Square, Abuja during the ongoing May Day Rally organised by NLC and TUC to mark the celebration.

Dr Ngige said the sacrifices by Nigerian workers amidst very difficult times remain indelible, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic and after is laudable.

Meanwhile, The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has joined millions of Nigerians to salute the country’s workers on the celebration of this year’s International Workers’ Day.

Mr Gbajabiamila, in a statement, expressed happiness that the Nigerian workers have lived up to expectations over the years, noting that they remain the backbone of the Nigerian working force.

Workers celebrating the 2022 Workers Day at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Photo: Joseph Agi

The Speaker, who commended the resilience, commitment and dedication of the Nigerian workers, said their efforts would never go in vain.

He observed that every well-meaning Nigerian must identify with the workers because of their invaluable contributions to nation-building.

Gbajabiamila urged Nigerian workers to keep hope alive as governments at all levels as well as the private sector were trying to make life better for them.

Similarly, The Organised Labour in Borno state has called on the state government to lift the temporary embargo on the promotion of civil servants.

The State Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Comrade Babayo Hamma made the call at an event to mark the 2022 Workers Day in Maiduguri. 

From left: Vice Chancellor Borno state University, Professor Umar Sandabe, state Chairman TUC comrade Babayo Hamma, Chairman NLC Comrade Yusuf Inuwa, representative of Borno state Governor Professor Isa Marte, Head of Civil Service Mr Simon Malgwi and representative of SSG Danjuma Balbaya at 2022 Workers Day in Maiduguri. Photo Dauda Iliya

Comrade Hamma noted that the temporary suspension was to last for a period of one year, but now in its third year. 

He identified nonpayment of promotion benefits and annual increment, payment of gratuity to local government staff and payment of 2020 leave grants as some of the demands of the workers. 

Responding, Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum assured that all outstanding entitlements of workers are fully paid within the available resources. 

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Isa Hussaini, the Governor said his administration in 2021 secured an N12 billion loan for the settlement of the backlog of gratuities to state and local government pensioners. 

The Governor called on workers in the state to reciprocate the gesture by rededicating themselves to better services, urging the public and private sectors to contribute to the recovery effort of Borno after more than ten years of insurgency. 

In Ondo State, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has congratulated the workers in the state on the occasion of the 2022 Workers’ Day Celebration.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ondo State, Richard Olatunde said Governor Akeredolu saluted the resilience and dedication of the civil servants which have engendered optimum service delivery to the people of the state.

The Governor appreciated the leadership of the organized labour in the state for the continued exhibition of maturity, understanding and support, particularly at these challenging times.

Governor Akeredolu urged the workers to rededicate themselves to the service of the state and join hands with his administration to deliver on the “REDEEMED” agenda of his second term in office.

36 Workers Killed

The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress Kaduna State Council, Ayuba Magaji has said that 36 workers lost their lives as a result of banditry in the state.

This was even as he called for one-minute silence and prayed for the souls of the departed comrades that lost their lives as a result of insecurity and other harsh conditions within the year.

May Day celebration at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna. Photo: Adamu Yusuf

Magaji who was speaking during the May Day celebration at Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna on Sunday also encouraged the workers to obtain their voter’s cards and vote out politicians who will not defend their interests.

The labour leader also implored the workers to participate fully in politics instead of staying on the fence.

He also noted that the continuous delay in salaries of primary school teachers, primary health care workers and the local government staff is unacceptable to the congress.

He noted that for so long workers in these places, in most cases only received their salaries at the end of preceding months thereby adding to their plights.

The Chairman commended the Kaduna State government over the giant strides in its infrastructural development drive, especially in Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria, however, noted that good governance is beyond infrastructural development alone but more needed to be in the areas of citizens’ participation in governance, social justice, strict observation of rule of law, equity and adequate security.

He also called on the Kaduna State government to change its outdated style of hostility in industrial relationships and embrace the new world order of tripartite and social dialogue on matters of workers’ rights and freedom.

In Lagos, Workers from both the public and private sectors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, converged on the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos Island in large numbers to commemorate this year’s Workers Day.

Addressing the workers, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu appreciated them for their contributions to the economic growth and development of the country, noting that the occasion offers govt the opportunity to review and reassess ways of improving a lot of workers.

Some of the workers at Mobolaji Johnson Arena Onikan Lagos. Photo: Omolara Omosanya

Appealing to the various unions to embrace dialogue in resolving issues, Governor Sanwo-Olu renewed his administration’s commitment to ensuring a conducive working environment and improved welfare of workers.

He announced that the State would be sponsoring thirteen labour members to the International Labour Organisation Convention in Geneva, Switzerland later this year as part of efforts to ensure a smooth working relationship between government and workers.

The Governor said nomination into the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy, Lagos is now open to raising future Nigerian leaders and committed civil servants.

Earlier, the State Chairperson of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Agnes Sessi thanked the State government for what it has done for the union so far, including the donation of vehicles and provision of a permanent Secretariat, urged for the fulfilment of other promises

The NLC state Chairperson who decried the rise in child labour in Lagos used the occasion to press home the demand for an increase in the minimum wage in line with present realities and appealed to the government to boost security and to further ensure a decent work environment

Speaking in the same vein, her Trade Union Counterpart, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo noted that the theme of this year’s Mayday “Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria” is apt in view of the fact that the Country will be heading to the polls again in 2023, said all workers must stand to be counted.

Acknowledging the efforts of the State government through different Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Comrade Ekundayo called for concerted efforts in the development of Lagos and the country at large.

The highlight of the event was the march passed by the various labour unions in their different colourful ceremonial uniforms.

Reporting by Joseph Agi, Ibrahim Shehu, Dauda Iliya, Omolara Omosanya and Adamu Yusuf; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino