Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has challenged the organized labour in the state and Nigeria, in general, to do more to bolster the unity, peace and socieconomic prosperity of the country.
Bagudu spoke on Saturday,at the occasion of the 2021 May Day Celebration, organized by the Organized Labour , Kebbi State Council .
It had as as it’s theme:” COVID-19 Pandemic, Social and Economic Crises : Challenge for Jobs, Social Protection and People’s Welfare.
Bagudu chided some unpatriotic citizens of the country beating the drums of war and disunity , saying ” Nigeria is more than all of us.”
He lamented :” Some forces are weakening the foundation of Nigeria and indulge in activities that affect the unity of the nation.
” They have been making divisive and negative statements and actions affecting the unity and relationships between the various tribes , regions and communties.
” Labour uions have great roles to play by mobilizing across the divides and the country, at large, to redress the ugly trend.”
Bagudu further noted that, the labour unions have important roles to play in supporting the various tiers of government and security agencies , in this direction .
” So that we will not allow some few devilish voices to dominate the space and we should team up to defeat those voices of evil.”
The Kebbi State Governor also stressed the need to appreciate the imperative to support the derive by President Muhammadu Buhari,to invest more in the economy .
He thanked the NLC and TUC for supporting the diversification effort of the Government towards achieving food security and economic prosperity.
Doing so, Bagudu noted, will help to expand the economy and get more resources to meet the needs and aspirarions of all Nigerians .
Bagudu also disclosed that, in spite of the downward trends recorded by the economy, hence shrinking the incomes of the state , yet , no expenditure item had changed in the state .
According to him, the state had for instance garnered about N 16bn as revenues in the first quarter of 2021, from a projected revenue of 35.1 billion naira in the period under review .
” We are still paying salaries as at when due, paying all running costs , feeding our school children and providing other social infrastructure like roads , including support to the security agencies,” he added .
He described such feat as an achievement worth commendation against the background of what has been going on in other states.
He cited peculiar cases of Kano and Kaduna States which earned the largest revenues in Northern Nigeria, but had to contend with formidable circumstances.
Kano he said has reverted to the old minimum wage of #18,000, while Kaduna State retrenched more than four thousand workers to be able to pay salary.
Bagudu recalled that, Kebbi State was among the few states to implement the new National Minimum Wage since September 2020, while it is the only Northern State that is current in the payment of pensions.
He also stated that, both the state government and the Ministry for Local Governments were monthly setting aside significant amount of money for the payment of gratuities .
Bagudu urged,” this calls for more support and understanding. We will continue to work together.
” Kebbi State Government will not act unilaterally on any issue , without involving the labour unions.
” Although the state government is limited by the resources available to it, yet, it is a collective issue and we will continue to do it right together.”
Bagudu noted that, the theme for this year May Day is apt and timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the journey Nigeria has started of diversifying the economy.
He averred:” Each sector is suffering, as when there is revenue shortfall, everything can happen, including affecting the ability of the security agencies to diligently safeguard lives and property of Nigerians.
” The labour unions have crucial roles to play and Kebbi State Government has realized that stemming ugly trend is the role of everyone .
” The labour unions in Kebbi state are trying and they deserve commendation . We will continue to foster mutual respect and understanding amongst us, so that together we can take the state to greater heights.”
Bagudu alerted the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, about the warning published in a letter by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which indicated that it has no money to remit to the Federation Account from which disbursement was made monthly to the thirty six states and FCT.
He told the labour unions that as intelligentsia of workers’ rights, there was need on them to be part of the solution on the way forward.
The Chairman of Progressives Governors’Forum , while assuring of his administration’s commitment to enhancing the welfare of workers by adhering to the provision of their rights and previleges, also stated that his administration was taking bold measures to restructure and reposition the economy of Kebbi State.
Earlier , the State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Union, NLC, comrade Umar Halidu Hassan, said the commemoration of May Day is to remember workers who gave up their tomorrow, for the workers of today
The day according to him, was celebrated worldwide, Nigeria inclusive in order to let the world know that protesting workers at then are gone and the flame of struggle blazes up till date.
He said this year’s theme : Covid 19, Social and Economic Crises: Challenge for Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples Welfare is an inquest into how workers have fared under the heavy clouds of Corona Virus disease pandemic.
He said that:-the pandemic has affected world economy, thousands of people lost their lives and workers, especially in the private sector, lost their jobs, while appealing to employers of labour in the private sector, who had hitherto sacked their employees,to recall them back
Comrade Halidu urged workers to get vaccinated against the virus and continue to observe safety protocols of Covid -19, to protect themselves.
The NLC Chairman, used the occasion to commiserate with Kebbi State Government and families of the slain police and soldiers killed in Sakaba and other parts of the country as a result of criminal activities of kidnappers and bandits.
He commended Governor Bagudu for the proper management of the state resources, describing him,” as ‘Governor of Kebbi State is no doubt a great human and capital manager.”
The NLC Chairman appealed to Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to consider and approve their demand to join Kebbi State Contributory HealthCare Management Agency (KACHEMA), payment of gratuity from the reserve fund and payment of 2020 Annual Leave Grants to state civil servants, LGEA and Local Government staff.
The Commissioner for Higher Education, Professor Muktar Umar Bunza, delivered a paper on Covid- 19 Pandemic, Social and Economic Crises : Challenges for Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples Welfare .
The Professor made it clear that the pandemic has led to the loss of millions of jobs and trillions of US dollars worldwide, of which Nigeria suffered significantly.
Bunza had acknowledged in his presentation the remark by the immediate past, German Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Bernad Schlagheck ,when he said that the ‘ Atiku Bagudu- led rice revolution is the only program, initiated in Africa by Africans without any foreign support or collaboration, which suceeded 100 percent.
Deservedly, the rice revolution has made Nigeria self sufficient in rice production which mitigated the effect of hunger arising from Covid 19.