By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The Nigeria Labour Congress and members of the organised Labour unions in Oyo state wednesterday at a mega rally in Ibadan asked Governor Abiola Ajimobi to forget about the planned privatisation of public secondary schools in the state and pay the owed over six months’ salary to civil servants in the state.
The protesting members of the NLC and other unions from within and outside Oyo state were led by the NLC Deputy Presidents, Comrade Kiri Mohammed Shuaibu , Comrade Peter Adeyemi and Oyo NLC state Chairman, Comrade Waheed Olojede.
Carrying placard with inscriptions such as “Workers say no to privatisation of schools”, “Ajimobi is a liar”,“Pay our six months outstanding salaries”, “We condemn selling of public schools,” among others, the protesters for hours completely shut down some parts of Ibadan by paralyzing business and vehicular activities in areas such as Yidi area, Agodi Bus-stop, Oje market, Beere and Mapo .
Addressing the rally, NLC Deputy President, Comrade Peter Adeyemi stated that the protest was to further drive home the unions demand for the immediate payment of six months outstanding salaries of workers in the state, “saying, “the truth is that, even when workers are paid, they are still trying to survive with the peanut the government is paying them not to talk of government not paying at all”.
“The value of the salary they want to pay them has reduced. Even the government said there is no plan of devaluing the naira but we know that our currency has been devalued. We have not seen where the employers have been made banks, so the process of keeping the money of the employees is strange to us and it’s a new dimension. So if the government does not pay us our salaries at the right time they ought to do then they have to pay us an interest for holding our salaries,” he said.
Also, another NLC Vice President, Comrade Muhammadu Suaibu noted that workers in Oyo State have been greatly punished with the nonpayment of their salaries by the state government
Speaking, Chairman of Oyo NLC, Comrade Waheed Olojede said workers in the state have been waiting to organise a mega rally to further protest the obnoxious policy of government that appears to them “ as anti-social an anti-workers, particularly the unpaid arrears of salaries
“One of it is the unpaid arrears of salaries. Between the government and the workers there is a social contract, contract of provision of service and payment of salaries. For the past six months failed to perform their responsibility, this is why we are going on the streets to tell the state government that as a matter of urgency we want our salary arrears to be paid, in the same vein we want our pensioners whose pension have accrued with the gratuities. The entire workers of Oyo State also say no to privatisation, commercialisation of education in the state”, he said.
He however vowed that NLC will remain undaunted and continue to forge ahead until sanity prevails between the workers and government in the state.
Oyo State Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Comrade Akin James while speaking at the rally stressed that the Tuesday’s NURTW peaceful solidarity walk to Governor Ajimobi was not to condemn the labour union, but that the union would not allow violence and brigandage to be re-introduced into the state under whatever guise by any individual or group, adding that the era of impunity in the work environment is over, saying “this is the time that workers are ready to demand for their right”.
Emphasizing that the protesting workers are not violent but are only demanding for their right, he said “NURTW is also part of NLC because it is a union”
The peaceful protest which took off from the state secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress and supervised by men of the Oyo state Police Command, officers of the Directorate of the State Security Services (DSS) and men of the State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps paralysed business and commercial activities in most parts of the state capital with some markets women and artisans equally solidarised with the workers who were busy chanting various anti government slogans
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.