By Victor Young
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday, demanded for nationwide lockdown with exception for providers of essential goods and services, saying “Such large-scale lockdown should be accompanied with appropriate support systems that allow workers who provide essential services to function and in a manner that provides protection and sustenance to them and their families.”
According to NLC, government should consider a national lockdown for a reasonable period of time if the infection escalates, insisting “in line with Section 45 of the constitution which empowers government to limit citizens’ rights in the favour of public safety, we ask citizens to comply fully with government directives on public orders on COVID-19.”
NLC also warned that organised labour would not accept a situation where workers would be used as sacrificial lamb in the fight against coronavirus.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, while commending the Lagos State government for its proactive measures to contain and manage COVID -19 outbreak despite its large population density, lamented that the multiplicity of cases being recorded across the country had proven that Nigeria was not prepared for the pandemic .
He said, “We must commend the partial lockdown of Lagos and other cities but we foresee an expansion of this extreme yet necessary initiative if we must contain the Covid-19 pandemic. We must commend our members in Lafarge Plc and the management of the company for their exemplary collaboration in responding to the index case.
“In all of these, we demand job and wage protection. To make this possible, factories and businesses will require fiscal stimulus, financial aids and other macro-economic support incentives at this critical time. For millions of workers in the informal sectors, including our members in the transport, in the markets and all categories of artisans who are involved in involuntary lockdown, we demand cash grant through their associations to enable them cope during this difficult time.”