Union leader warns defaulting state governors to offset salaries

Tunde Akanbi,Ilorin

A prominent labour leader in Nigeria, Comrade Issa Aremu has warned state governors defaulting in the payment of salaries saying that their inability to do so, equaled the deliberate strangulation of the working class.

Aremu said whoever presided over this, had no business running the affairs of the people and therefore advised such derailing governors to resign.

The labour leader, who is the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile and Garment Workers Union, made these pronouncements in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, North Central Nigeria on Sunday while answering questions with newsmen as part of activities commemorating his 55th birthday.

He stated that issues generated by unpaid salaries had posed a serious threat to the existence of workers across the country and challenged labour leaders to invoke actions that would bring the problem to a halt.

Aremu asked the state governors to emulate President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption drive as encapsulated in the change mantra.

Aremu said: “What we have now is all sorts of excuses for non-payment of salaries. I want to say that non-payment of salaries equals ‘economic-cide’. It is another word for genocide. It means deliberate strangulation of working people by denying them source of income. It is criminal, it is unacceptable.

Workers now sell their assets to pay children tuition fees. But that is those who are alive. Some have died because of non-payment of salaries. I think the state governors must emulate what (President) Buhari is doing. It is a shame that state governors cannot pay salaries. Any governor that delays a month salary has no business to be in office.

And those of us labour leaders who can’t sack them, should all resign. Because what do the working people live on. The salary is not even enough in the first instance”.

On the 2016 budget,Comrade  Aremu praised President Muhammadu Buhari for renewing the hope of Nigerians, saying with the Appropriation Bill, the country was on the verge of economic recovery.

Mr president had late last year, tabled a six-trillion-naira budget estimate of 2016 to the joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

The front line labour Leader called for a proper industrialization policy to create mass employment in the country.

According to him, in the process of reviving the industrial sector, there should be a holistic stakeholder meeting to look at the existing policies on industrialization.

Comrade Issa Aremu  also urged the Federal Government to revisit the recommendations of the 2014 National conference to protect the country’s local industries.

The Labour leader also stressed the need for stable power supply and fixing of the transport sector, particularly the rail system for mass transportation of goods and services.