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Reverse Alamieyeseigha’s pardon, Labour tells Jonathan

News » Politics

Image: Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)

May.02, 2013


President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Omar, has called on the Federal Government to rescind the state pardon it recently granted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was convicted on corruption charges while he held sway in the state.

“Corruption remains the most serious factor undermining the realisation of our economic potential.

“Government must not only make commitment to fighting it, government must demonstrate this commitment by its actions, by its style and by its body language.

“In this regard, we find the pardon granted to a former Governor who was convicted of corruptly enriching himself as unfortunate and a major dent on the government’s commitment to fighting corruption,” Omar said in Abuja on Wednesday while addressing workers on the occasion of this year’s May Day.

President General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, in his own remarks, spoke of how labour had faced many trials, encountered multiple challenges from detractors in the last 100 years of Nigeria’s existence, but assured that “yet the workers will continue to remain focused and undeterred.”

Esele lamented that “over the years much of our infrastructure have collapsed.

“We are worried that many industries and business enterprises still struggle to break even due to the overly high overhead costs they incur on transportation, power generation, exorbitant demurrage at the ports, high exchange rate of the naira, multiple taxation.

“The manufacturing sector is worst hit by these negative factors which have resulted in capacity utilisation remaining abysmally low.

“Owing to these, the domestic economy has witnessed an unprecedented closure of factories and production plants, and the unemployment profile has continued to rise,” he said.

Esele called on government to review the nation’s industrialisation policies, stressing that the relocation of several companies from Nigeria to Ghana and other countries was indicative that “all is not well with our economy as the Bank of Ghana recently released a report that lists Nigeria as the 9th leading source of foreign direct investment in Ghana.

“This is because the list of companies that relocated include, among others, Dunlop Nigeria Plc, Michelin, etc. And as they shut down their plants, they invariably laid off hundreds of their workers and put some on half pay,” he added.

Also speaking on the occasion, President Goodluck Jonathan commended the labour movement over its commitment to nation building, stressing that it is one group the political class has not been able to infiltrate for selfish interest.

Jonathan spoke of some of his administration’s strides in the area of economic and social indices, but equally admitted that Nigerians have not been able to feel the impact of his economic gains because of several factors.

“Let me sincerely appreciate the organised labour in this country and the labour leaders, though you hear their voices and they have the voices of the very strong labour leaders, the commitment and the doggedness of some strong labour leaders, but in their character we know that they consider the interest of this country, the unity of this country, and that is why they have not been lured to pursue private agenda.

“That is why those of us who are politicians have not been able to use the organised labour for our own selfish interest; I urge you to continue with that spirit, the spirit of building a nation for ourselves and our children.

“As a result of our economic policies, there has been significant improvement in our economic fundamentals.

“Our economy grew by about 6.6 per cent last year and it is set to grow at a similar pace this year. Considering the global economic recession, the projected growth of 6.6 is quite significant.

“We have further reduced our fiscal deficit in the 2012 budget to 1.8 per cent of GDP and cut domestic borrowing.

“We have rebalanced our spending in favour of capital expenditure, the rate of inflation also dropped to a single digit territory at the beginning of this year. At a time many advanced and emerging markets are being down graded, our sovereign credit rating has been upgraded.

“We are however not unmindful of the fact that the ultimate benefit of this current result must reflect in the lives of the citizens.

“I agree totally that until we create jobs, until Nigerians can wake up and find food to eat, until Nigerians who are sick can walk to the hospitals and get treatment, the economic indices may not mean much to us,” Jonathan said. *************


Article Credit: Daily Independent Newspaper

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