The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared that the afflictions of the Year 2020 will soon give way to a glorious triumph for Nigerian workers, their families and indeed for the Nigerian nation.
In a message titled: ‘A Christmas of Hope and triumph – 2020 Christmas Greetings’, the congress also used the occasion to honour the memory and work of workers who paid the supreme price in the line of fire fighting the escalation of COVID-19, saying, “your death will not be in vain.”
In the message signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the congress tasked the workers to renew their commitment, saying that “Nigerian workers can truly remind ourselves of our roles in birthing the desired hope for the future.”
Wabba said: “This year’s celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ comes at a very trying time in the world. The advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the great dislocation, despair and distress occasioned by the global health insurgency and various other forms of socio-economic upheavals make this Christmas something to look forward to as a source of hope, inspiration and comfort.
“This is especially so given that the birth of Jesus Christ was not in the best of conditions. The Saviour had to be born in a manger because there was no decent accommodation to receive his birth. Yet, the circumstances of His birth did not stop the child from growing in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and man and ultimately becoming the source of salvation for those who believe in Him.
“We believe that the current vicissitudes that punctuated the year 2020 will give rise to a better and brighter 2021. The Saviour did not remain in the manger. He also rode triumphantly to Jerusalem. We believe that the afflictions of the Year 2020 will soon give way to a glorious triumph for Nigerian workers, their families and indeed for the Nigerian nation. This is the message of Christmas. A message of hope and triumph.”
He reminded the workers of their crucial roles, saying, “as we bask in the hope that Christmas brings, we also remind ourselves that we have our role to play. Indeed, Nigerian workers can truly remind ourselves of our roles in birthing the desired hope for the future because we had discharged our roles in 2020 with great gusto, panache and unrivalled commitment.
“In the midst of a devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the application of Nigerian frontline workers to their duties was the difference in deaths in millions, as predicted in some parts of the world, and deaths in hundreds as we have been able to curtail the effect and impact of the landfall of the novel coronavirus on our shores.”
Remembering the workers who succumbed to death, the NLC President said: “We take this moment to salute the efforts and sacrifice of our frontline workers.”
, including our healthcare workers, road transport workers, aviation workers, maritime workers, sanitation workers, agriculture workers, journalists, informal sector workers, and even our security personnel for leading the rest of us in the great battle against the menace of COVID-19.
“We also use this occasion to honour the memory and work of workers who paid the supreme price in the line of fire fighting the escalation of COVID-19. Your death will not be in vain.
We can make the sacrifice of our fallen heroes count as we renew our commitment to stopping the unrelenting virus even as it threatens a second global wave. We honour the memory of workers who gave their lives so we live when we maintain and improve on the health protocols that can help keep us, our families, our friends, and our colleagues safe.”
He warned that the temptation to throw caution to the winds will be rife this festive season, and therefore appealed that this is not the time to be complacent.
He said: “COVID-19 is real. The second wave of the deadly virus is palpable. We can mitigate its impact if we observe all the necessary health protocols.”
He stated that the news of the availability of a vaccine for COVID-19 was a special gift of Christmas.
“As medical experts confirm the potency and safety of the vaccine, we urge the international health community to develop a pro-poor vaccine that will not dig further holes in the pockets of poor countries and poor people of the world,” he said.
The NLC President, however, warned that “a more virulent pandemic would be for organized capital to commoditize and commercialize COVID-19 vaccine out of the reach of billions who need it desperately,” as such would be antithetical to the spirit and message of Christmas.”
On the plight of workers, he said: “Nigerians, especially workers, have suffered a lot of downturns and reversals this year. While wages remained constant, fuel and electricity prices have been severally and arbitrarily increased inducing galloping inflation.
“Government must steer away from making workers’ burden an ounce more grievous. This will be resisted. Workers cannot be the cannon fodder for the misgovernance of successive years.”
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