A PRESS RELEASE
On behalf of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the working people of our country, we felicitate with our Muslim brothers and sisters and indeed all Nigerian workers and citizens on the occasion of this Eid el Kabir. We also give thanks to Almighty Allah for His bountiful mercies and benevolence in all facets of our lives.
The occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir is an auspicious time to reflect on the virtues of total submission to Allah, of giving or sharing with neighbours, sacrifice and other acts of piety.
It also avails us an opportunity to reflect not only on our personal lives but on the state of the nation.
Accordingly, as we mark the Eid el Kabir, our over-riding concern should be how to reciprocate in our personal lives and national responsibilities God’s great love for us.
It is unfortunate that most of us given responsibilities have not done enough to alleviate the suffering of the masses or improve the quality of their lives.
Not surprisingly, we continue to record socio-economic hardships and sufferings on a scale never before seen or experienced by the average Nigerian.
Security challenges ranging from abductions, kidnappings, banditry, secessionist agitation, violent conflicts leading to mass killings and displacements and audacious attacks on military and paramilitary institutions as was recorded in Kuje Prison only a few days ago have become new normal in an increasingly fragile environment.
Our situation has been compounded by unbridled corruption and greed, degraded infrastructure, massive devaluation of the Naira, absence of love, unity, sacrifice and common purpose as well as upheaval/volatilities in the international commodity/energy market exacerbated by the ongoing Russia/Ukraine conflict.
As a result of this, Nigerian workers and people have been pushed to the cliff with skyrocketing energy/food/transportation costs that most can ill-afford.
One of the immediate consequences of this situation is the complete erosion of the value of the National minimum wage at N30,000 (less than $50 dollars a month for an average family of four).
These attacks are not isolated incidents but continuations of attacks on places of worship, government institutions, trains, airports, commuters and homes of the vulnerable.
In spite of these mind-numbing challenges, the Nigerian workers continue to create wealth and value. The generality of Nigerians with no other country they can call their own, continue to hope against hope. It is in recognition of this that we salute their courage, productivity, resilience, sacrifice and abiding faith in their country.
Nonetheless, the occasion of Eid el Kabir offers us an opportunity to engage in frank conversations on the need to muster the requisite political will to take the right decisions, make more reasonable sacrifices, re-enact God’s love for us, and obey His commands unconditionally.
We use this occasion of Eid-El-Kabir, to remind government to fulfill its promises of the recovery of our national refineries as the only sustainable pathway to end the perennial energy crises in our country; bring to an end through meaningful discussions the protracted ASUU strike and others. We also encourage government to invest in green renewable energy.
On security, may we remind government that the primary duty of any government is the security of the lives and property of its citizens. The battle to secure lives and property starts with ensuring the welfare of the people through provision of decent jobs, effective public infrastructure and transparent-cum inclusive social protection schemes for the vulnerable and the poorest of the poor in Nigeria. We also call for effective utilization of defense budgets and proper oversight of same by the National Assembly.
The increasing fragility of our security architecture evidenced by the recent attack on Kuje Correctional Facility which went on unchallenged for hours questions our collective resolve to confront the challenge of security and the seriousness of government on security.
On this Eid-el-Kabir, we encourage Nigerian workers not to despair. It was Kwame Nkrumah that advised us not to agonize but to organize. As we work and watch for a New Nigeria, we once again wish all our Muslim sisters and brothers a memorable and rewarding Eid-el-Kabir.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
8th July 2022