By Victor Young
United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, has said the death of Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Abba Kyari, from coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic complications have provided an avenue for the nation to reflect on its infrastructure, among others.
ULC’s President, Joe Ajaero, said this in a letter of condolence to President Buhari and the immediate family of late Kyari.
He said: “In death, Abba Kyari teaches us as a nation to take serious look at the various national infrastructure that we have allowed to become decrepit over the years, especially our healthcare delivery system.
“His going to the grave urges us to begin immediately to revamp our health institutions, review and ensure effective health policies, ensure greater access to healthcare for all of our citizens, build capacities of our health care personnel and functionally equip our hospitals.
“It teaches us to awaken to the reality of building our nation consciously and deliberately by strengthening every sector of the nation’s social infrastructure and public utilities.
“The inalienable fact that when the chips are down, it is everyone to his father’s house has been forcefully brought down to us as a nation, meaning that the way we place our mats, so shall we lay on them.
“This is why as a nation we must treat our healthcare personnel and those on essential duty fairly. It is clear that as we battle COVID-19 pandemic, the people that really matters are the workers who are on the frontline of this battle — the healthcare chain, electricity and energy workers, the food and fruit sellers and those who we erroneously consider inconsequential.
“It has taught us the importance of providing insurance cover for the health workers, electricity and energy workers and, in fact, the journalists who daily keep us informed of the battle while we stay at home.
“We are sure it has become clear that as a nation, we should pursue a course that would provide a new and better deal for Nigerian workers. Mourning Abba Kyari, therefore, provides us the opportunity to rethink the way in which we have treated the nation’s workforce being the backbone of this nation.
“For his passing not to be in vain, a special post-COVID-19 framework for workers must be established to provide remedies to challenges that may arise for the nation’s workforce after this pandemic.
“We would want the COVID-19 palliative to get to every Nigerian, especially the workers as it is done in other nations of the world.
“Ensuring that some of the governors pretending to be combating the pandemic, but using it as a cover to deny workers their salary by hastily declaring curfew do not have their way, has also become important.
“We urge the President to ensure that all Nigerian workers, whether in the private or public sector, are paid their wages and salaries at this period of great distress over Abba Kyari and CVID-19 pandemic. It is important that the rights of Nigerians are respected to the hilt as battle COVID-19.
“Much more, the President will also notice that the security agencies, especially the Police, seem to have engaged in an unhealthy competition with COVID-19 to see who kills Nigerians more.
“Please instruct the IGP to rein in his men to stop the killings all over the nation. It may just be the trigger for social upheaval in our nation, if it continues unabated,” the UCL President added.