*Says high rate of youth unemployment, a time bomb
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, and it’s Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart have warned that Nigeria cannot solve its security challenges with the alarming rate of unemployment, especially among youths across the country.
The unions called on the Federal Government to do all within its powers to address the high rate of unemployment in the country to have any chance of addressing the insecurity and bring about a peaceful nation, warning that Nigeria was sitting on a time bomb, with the armies of jobless youths across the country.
Presidents of NLC and TUC, Ayuba Wabba and Quadiri Olaleye, spoke at the 40th anniversary celebration of Labour Writers Association of Nigeria, LAWAN, in Lagos.
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Titled “Growing Insecurity and Unemployment: The Way Forward,” NLC president, Wabba said the theme of the anniversary was dear to the heart of labour, being one of the major challenges facing the country currently.
He described unemployment as a time bomb which, if not urgently addressed, would be difficult for the nation to have peace as problems of insecurity would continue to skyrocket.
Wabba said: “There is no difference between unemployment and insecurity, it is a fact and has been established.
On the recent programme we held in addressing precarious work and making jobs available for our teeming youths, decent jobs are very important because without decent jobs, there will be no security and social progress.
‘’That is why the Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 8.7, has been tied to having decent jobs.”
He commended the TUC for always partnering NLC to address some of the challenges of the society, contending that with what was happening today, organised labour needed more collaboration and sensitisation of its rank and file to be able to be on the same page and address some of the ills.
‘’This is service to humanity for making our voices to be heard. When you do the right thing, you find passion.
“We will continue to work together to address the various issues affecting our society, which we must put before the public domain. This event is about humanity, about society and doing what is right,” Wabba said.
Similarly, President of the TUC, Olalere, pleaded with government at all levels to do more to solve the employment crisis in the country, stressing that without first addressing the high rate of unemployment, every effort at fighting insecurity would remain a mirage.
While congratulating LAWAN on the milestone, he reiterated that the TUC would keep fighting and forging ahead to make Nigerian workers enjoy the fruits of their labour.
On his part, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, MINILS, Issa Aremu said: “What is happening in the country, especially with the recent #EndSARS protest, which brought out large number of youths across the country to the streets, tells that there is a nexus between unemployment and insecurity.’’
He recalled how there was full employment in the early 70s and 80s with industries working at full capacity.
On the way forward in addressing the menace, Arewa said there was the need to take into cognisance Chapter 2 of 1999 Constitution as amended on policies of states directed towards fundamental objectives and directives of states in creating employment, welfare of the citizens, minimum wage and pension, among others.
He lamented that it was unconstitutional and unacceptable that leaders had not worked enough towards the realisation of the policies, adding that the constitution spelled it out clearly as it guaranteed employment for every citizen.
In his address, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, while commending LAWAN on the significant milestone, said the anchor of the anniversary laid in the fact that the association had put labour in the front burner in the last 40 years.
He said it was to ensure that the administration of the tripartite community, which approximates the body and soul of every nation’s productivity, was aligned to international best practices.
He said Nigeria had no doubt been the beneficiary of the rich contribution of labour reporters as manifested in the growth of friendly labour practices across the years.
Ngige, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, said LAWAN’s resourcefulness and responsiveness to the vagaries of developments in the tripartite community, its balanced reportage and, of course, at times, contradictions of fairness, were all matters to reflect on as the association clocks forty.