Nigerian Workers Set To Mark Workers Day
The organised labour in Nigeria is set to mark this year’s International Workers Day.
The Day is observed every first day in the month of May globally.
In Nigeria over the years, the day has always been commemorated with pump and pageantry with workers converging at designated fields, stadia or squares across the thirty-six States and the Federal Capital Territory FCT Abuja for their match past which is usually the grand finale of the activities slated for the occasion.
This year’s celebration unfortunately will not be as usual for workers in the FCT as they have to look for another converging venue to hold their event other than the usual Eagle Square where the day had been observed over the years.
According to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, the two umbrella labour Centres in Nigeria, the revocation for the use of the Square which had already been permitted by the FCT management, was communicated to them on Thursday and Friday this week.
The reason the government gave according to the Centres was that the Square will be under going renovation in preparation for the May 29th inauguration of the nation’s new President billed for that day.
Addressing the media on Friday after a meeting of its National Executive Council meeting NEC, the TUC President, Festus Osifo, rejected what he called the last minute change of venue for the May Day rally.
“One of the agencies under the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA, communicated to us that the Eagles Square will not be available for our May Day parade on Monday.
“But suffice to note that this is not the first time that we will be holding May Day parade at the Eagle Square and also the swearing in on May 29.
“This has been taking place since 1999, and we have always had a way of carrying out our parade before they go ahead with their preparations for hand-over.
“Moreso , May first is four weeks away from handing over date but our government is telling us that political considerations are much more important than the issues of workers”, Osifo said.
The TUC President also said government has suggested they use the Old Parade Ground for their event which he said that the TUC has also rejected
Postal Service Sell-off
They also rejected the planned sell off of the assets of the Nigreia Postal Service NIPOST by the Nigerian government, Osifo warned that Nigerian workers “are opposed to the plan to sell the assets of public-owned establishments especially at the twilight of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration”
He stated that “the TUC is opposed to plans by the federal government to privatize NIPOST and to strip the entity of it’s assets, handing them over to private concerns”.
Osifoh said the Congress also kicked against alleged last minute move by the Nigerian government to privatize several entities, including Federal Medical Centres, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and take over of the management of transport operations by some States in the country.
For the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC which kick started activities for the May Day celebration with a public lecture, titled “ Workers Rights and Socio-Economic Justice”, the revocation of the permission to use the Eagle Square for the May Day event meant that “workers match pass this year will take place on the streets of Abuja”.
NLC’s General Secretary Emma Ugboaja, told Voice of Nigeria in an interview that the withdrawal of the use of the Eagle Square from labour would not deter it from ensuring that it has a smooth and memorable Workers Day celebration come Monday, May first
Voice of Nigeria
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