By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Trade Union Congress, TUC, Tuesday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, to investigate state governors that are still owing workers arrears of pension, salaries and allowances.
The union said that it is mobilising support for next Tuesday’s nationwide protest by workers against the continued closure of federal universities due to lectures strike.
Speaking at the 12th Triennial National Delegates Conference of the union, out-going President of TUC, Comrade Quadiri Olaleye condemned the non payment of workers entitlement by the affected Governors despite recieving huge sums as bailout funds, budgetary support fund and the Paris Club debt refund.
The TUC boss lamented the hardship Nigerians are currently facing due to ailing economy and urged the federal government to lift the ban on some essential commodities, especially those ones that we do have close substitute.
Comrade Olaleye said, “The claim of the governors is that they gave no money to pay whereas they have money to pay their predecessors and also fund their reckless lifestyle. We condemn it and demand the EFCC and ICPC to investigate and bring the governors to book.”
On the trouble in the education sector, he said that the sector which is the bedrock of development has been neglected and allowed to be plagued with myriad of problems.
According to him members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have been on strike for five months due to poor funding, inadequate infrastructure.
He said, “The Congress is solidly behind ASUU and will continue to advocate for sanity in the sector. To this end, TUC is mobilising to join her counterpart, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in carrying out a nationwide protest to compel government to resolve the dispute with university workers.”
On funding of the education sector, Olaleye said that federal government merely allocated a paltry sum of N875.93 billion to education sector in this year’s budget, which is about 7.2 percent of the national budget.
Regarding the epileptic power supply situation in the country, the Congress lamented the failings of the privatization of power supply assets and urged the federal government to urgently renegotiate the contract and hand over the electricity firms to reputable global players.
The union also kicked against the plan to privatize Federal Government Colleges and hand it it to a few merchants, saying that such a move runs against the spirit and objective of government providing for the wellbeing of it’s people.
TUC President urged the federal government and the National Assembly to immediately stop what it described as ”malicious agenda” of privatising Unity Schools across the country.
He added that there is nowhere in the world where secondary education is run as a profit-making venture
According to him, TUC would use every available means to resist the attempt of mortgaging secondary school education.
Government has nurturing a plan to empower Boards of Trustees to take over total management of the schools using the Public Private Participation (PPP) model.
However, Olaleye, said that Congress’ findings revealed that the government is hell-bent in destroying Nigeria’s secondary and tertiary education with its privatisation moves and lackadaisical attitude towards ASUU strike.
”We are not unaware about the serious conspiracy to privatise the 110 Federal Government Colleges and the push in the National Assembly to actualise the malicious agenda.
”There is nowhere in the world where secondary education is run as a profit-making venture; we wonder why ours is different. We warn that we are not going to allow our collective patrimony to be sold to a handful of individuals and highest bidder,” the TUC boss said.
Olaleye, while speaking on growing insecurity in the country, described huge amount of funds being spent on security sector as a waste.
He said, ”We have observed with concern the increasing incidents of banditry, kidnapping, robbery in the country. The air, rail and road transport systems are no longer safe. About two weeks ago, Kuje prison in Abuja was attacked and according to the Defence Ministry account, five people were killed, 879 inmates escaped, 443 were recaptured while 64 Boko Haram terrorists escaped.
”It is obvious the millions of Naira invested into national security is a waste of resources. The terrorists are emboldened by the day making Nigerians more vulnerable. This ugly development keeps investors, especially foreigners away.
”We urge the federal government to, for once summon the political will to name, shame and end the killing of Nigerians in churches, mosques, roads and their houses. Nigerians want to sleep with their two eyes closed.”
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