Worried by the swelling corruption, impunity, injustice and the failure of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to hold politicians accountable in the country, the Rivers Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has charged labour to rise to the challenges of seeking better governance for Nigerians.
Addressing workers during the May Day celebration at the Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt, Governor Amaechi said Nigeria will not change until labour union, students and ordinary man take their destiny in their hands.
Governor Amaechi who recalled the roles played by labour and students union during the administration of Late Gen. Sani Abacha, stressed that there has not been any successful democracy in Nigeria without the contributions of labour. “What is happening presently is frightening to me so I have decided to stay in my house and watch you do what you want to do”.
Governor Amaechi attributed the rising cases of kidnapping and violence in the north to social inequality, social injustice, reminding members of the labour union of the missing fund in the present government which is yet to be recovered.
In his words “Few Nigerians just sit down and carting away our money and then you think that we will not die of hunger and because there is hunger in the land, there is bound to be violence, the fact that they are stealing the money lead to social economic violence”.
Governor Amaechi however, called on labour to rise against injustice, corruption, impunity because Nigeria needs those who will speak for them and rise to the challenges of seeking better governance.
He also called on labour to seek for free and fair elections as well as resist rigging, pointing out that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP should be voted out as a result of poor leadership.
Governor Amaechi further announced the released of the sum of N500 millions to settle the salary and arrears of traffic marshals of the Rivers State Traffic Management Authority TIMA-RIV, adding that out of the 13,000 teachers employed by his administration 10,000 have been paid already adding that the remaining 3,000 teachers which is mostly those at the Senior Secondary School will be paid within this month, stressing that the government would gradually offset their arrears.
Governor Amaechi revealed that the essence of establishing TIMA-RIV was to apprehend traffic offenders and generate revenue that will sustain their maintenance and other bills, lamenting that the leadership of the agency instead of maintaining the agreement reached with his administration, embezzled fund realized for the agency adding that his administration would restructure TIMA-RIV and appoint new leaders over them pointing out that his government would fish out those who have embezzled the fund and be to punished accordingly.
He promised to build a befitting secretariat under the same roof for the Rivers State chapter of NLC and TUC.
Earlier in his speech the Rivers State chairman of the NLC, Chief Chris Oruge while commending Governor Amaechi for the commencement of the building of NUJ Rivers council secretariat appealed for same for the Rivers State NLC reminding the governor of his promise to build a secretariat for NLC since 2011.
He also pleaded with governor Amaechi to purchase a bus for the industrial union pointing out that the old one has gone out of use.
On his part, Com. Chika Onuegbu, the Rivers State chairman of TUC reveal that the May day celebration which is also known as an international day for workers is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world to mark the economic and social achievement for workers adding that the event should be use as an opportunity for workers to reflect on the many sacrifices of working people in the struggle for freedom, dignity, social justice and equalitarian society.
He lamented the insecurity situation in the country especially in the Northern part of the country stressing that the insecurity situation has increases the cost of doing business in the country and called for the collaboration of Nigerians to ensure peace in the federation. ###
Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor