The President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi, said on Wednesday that Nigerians deserve better welfare systems to alleviate hardship in the country.
Mr Ogunyemi, in a message to workers, said the situation in the country has made life unbearable for Nigerian masses “while the few rich continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor majority.”
The ASUU Chairman lamented that “Nigerian poor and downtrodden have nothing to celebrate their Christmas.”
According to Mr Ogunyemi, the worsening state of the country’s economy has hit the poor masses below the belt and made the Yuletide meaningless.
He noted that the celebration is more meaningful when Nigerians have access to qualitative education, healthcare and other good things of life.
“The season of love reminds us of our obligations to the poor and downtrodden. Its celebration is more meaningful when the ordinary Nigerians have access to qualitative education, healthcare, and other good things of life,” he said
Mr Ogunyemi, however, urged ASUU members to look back with thanksgiving and be prepared for challenges ahead in the New Year.
“Comrades and compatriots, as we join the rest of the world for the Christmas and New Year holidays, let’s look back with thanksgiving and prepare for the challenges of the future,” he said.
He noted that findings by the union had shown that lecturers in public institutions had been paid their December salary despite not enrolling on the IPPIS.
He said there were indications that the tertiary education sector would be ‘charged up’ next year following members’ refusal to enroll on IPPIS.
Similarly, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba, in a goodwill message on Christmas said workers and pensioners deserve the best care and welfare during the Yuletide as they are the ones that turn the wheel that creates wealth in the country.
Mr Wabba said the leadership of NLC would continue to work hard to ensure that workers and pensioners recoup a measure of the joy that they invest in others.
“We will not rest on our oars in the pursuit and struggle for an expeditious implementation of the new national minimum wage in all the states of Nigeria.
“We have already demanded that states which are still negotiating with the labour and those yet to set up their negotiating councils must conclude negotiations before the end of Dec. 2019 or we will send them a not too friendly New Year Gift,” he said.
Mr Wabba commended the federal government and the governments of Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos, and Adamawa and Jigawa for concluding negotiations with workers and for implementing the new national minimum wage and consequential salary adjustment for workers.
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He urged Nigerian leaders to espouse the virtues of Christmas by alleviating economic hardships on the citizens.
“In the spirit of Christmas, we urge our political leaders and elite at every tier and arm of government to rededicate themselves to the ideals espoused by Christmas.
“We hope that in the coming year, Nigerians would reap tonnes of positive turnaround in their existential realities as a consequence of recommitment of our leaders to the common good,” he said.