By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – SENATE President Bukola Saraki Thursday told protesting members of thee Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) that Nigerians cannot continue to suffer as they were presently going through in the country as a result of the biting economic recession.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja when he addressed members of the NLC, TUC and the organized Labour who staged a protest at the National Assembly complex over the rising cost of living in Nigeria, Saraki who noted that it was time the nation went into action towards addressing the numerous challenges confronting Nigerians, said that as Nigerians and leaders, we need to sit down and work out how to make necessary adjustments.
Saraki said, “It can’t continue this way, the exchange rate is high, cost of things in the market have gone high but only the workers’ salaries remain the same. By the next time we will meet, I will tell you what the National Assembly has done to improve the living condition of Nigerians.”
Earlier, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba who noted that the groups were protesting the delay in the upward review of minimum wage amidst increasing cost of items in the country, however explained that pensioners in the country were owed up to 77 months and called on the National Assembly to synergise with other arms of government to pay them, adding, “We are here to demand for good governance and express our support in the fight against corruption. More importantly, we demand for respect for rule of law, greater accountability and transparency in governance.”
Wabba who expressed worry that Nigerian workers have been the major victims of the fall-out of corruption and bad governance, said, “Today the dollar rate is N500 to one dollar and the salaries of Nigerian workers have remained the same. Therefore, we are here to urge the National Assembly to play an important role to ensure that life is made better for Nigerians. We cannot succeed if the fight against corruption does not succeed.
“We appreciate the efforts by the National Assembly to ensure financial autonomy for the local governments and this must be sustained because money meant for the local governments does not get there.’’
The NLC President who further expressed concern that in spite of the bailout funds to states for workers’ salaries, said, “the living condition of workers have not been improved because many are not paid’’.
Also contributing, the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama who noted that the inflation rate in the country was growing astronomically, said that it was time for governments at all tiers to go back to the drawing board to revive the country’s economy, adding, “Whatever it takes, we must review the structure of our economy. If we must have to kill corruption, the laws have to come from the National Assembly. Nigerians are hungry, the cost of living is high, no houses, no light and factories have gone comatose.”
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