Osinbajo receives protesting labour unions

ACTING President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday welcomed protesting labour union members, commending them for taking their campaign to the Presidential Villa, Abuja on behalf of the Nigerian people.

A delegation of the union leaders led by President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabara, and President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Boboi Kaigama, came to his office to lay down their grievances over the hardship faced by Nigerians, with Osinbajo using the opportunity to harp on the necessity to win the ongoing war against corruption.

Speaking at the occasion, the acting President said government was desirous of showing the people that it was accountable and willing to explore ways to address the current economic challenges faced by the people.

He said: “We commend you for taking this laudable campaign to the villa on behalf of the Nigerian people.

“For a democratically elected government, we must constantly report to the people and we must show that we are accountable to the people.

“That is why positions like yours have to be received properly and we must find ways to positively take action on the many demands that were raised.”

Osinbajo asserted that it was in line with this position that the administration embarked on the bailout of states that were unable to pay workers salaries before it came to power.

He stressed the need for the prudent management of resources in the midst of scarcity, noting that everyone must be held accountable.

He said: “Management of resources is critical especially when those resources are as small as what we are witnessing today. We want to ensure that everyone is held to account.

“If resources were not efficiently managed, we will not be able to do even the things we are doing now because we are operating at less than 60 per cent of revenues as at 2015, today.”

According to him, government was meeting with resistance in the war against graft which he vowed must be won to enable the country to move on.

His words: “Every time you fight corruption the way we are trying to fight corruption, there is a major fight back, because corruption in this country is wealthy, powerful, influential and it is in every aspect of our lives.

“It is in practically all institutions including religious institutions.

“The social media campaign of bring back corruption is an orchestrated one. Nobody that is suffering can say bring back corruption.

“Attempts by those who are being tried for corruption to delay trials is also part of the orchestrated campaign. If we don’t speak up against corrupt officials who make it look as if there is a witch-hunt, then we will not succeed in the fight.

“Government needs everybody to speak up. We have a serious battle in our hands and if we don’t win that battle, this country will never get to the path of sustainable development.

“The major problem that this country has suffered so far is the looting of its resources. We must fight corruption hard. It is a tough one but we must fight it.”

Osinbajo remarked that if the administration stayed the course, the country would not only get out of recession but would go to the path of sustainable development.

“If we don’t fight corruption, all we are doing is a waste. If a few can pillage the resources of the nation and get away with it, then we will just continue to go around with it,” he added.

He promises the labour leaders that the federal government could carry them along in its implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) expected to be launched at end of this month.

He said: “There is so much we can do with the Nigerian economy. We are going to be consulting with the labour union and civil societies on our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which we intend to launch this month.

“There is supposed to be a consultation on it so that we can take a look at the issues that are important especially to labour and civil societies and we can incorporate them into the plan.”

Earlier, NLC President had told Osinbajo that they were worried about systemic corruption and lack of good governance in the country.

He regretted that Nigerian masses were at the receiving end of bad governance and corruption in the country.

He said workers would like to see a nation where public office holders forfeited assets that they refused to declare.

In his remark, the TUC President said the organised labour and civil society allies were willing to support the fight against corruption.

 

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