Labour leader and General Secretary, National Union of Garment and Textile Workers of Nigeria, (NUTGTWN), Comrade Issa Aremu, at the weekend asked the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency over the current salary crisis rocking majority of states of the federation just as he noted that the anti-corruption crusade would not be effective in the face of a hungry workforce.
Aremu, who made the call at a Ramadan lecture organised in memory of his late wife, Hajia Hamdalat Abiodun,by the Kwara Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the failure of governors to meet the salary obligations to workers was impeachable adding that even the excuse of falling oil revenue was also not tenable.
The theme of the lecture was “Perspective on Labour Wages and the Nigerian Situation”.
The former Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) argued that it was high time Nigeria treated wage-related crimes, non-payment, low payment and wage-diversions as economic crimes and noted that support of organised labour for President Muhammadu Buhari’s condemnation of state governors who still owed their workers.
His words: “Given the importance of wage payment for national development, all arms of governments, namely the executive, judiciary and the National Assembly are expected to declare a State of emergency on the current unacceptable crisis of compensation in the country.
“Anti-corruption campaign cannot be sustained when workers do not receive adequate salaries on time. A hungry worker is not only angry but vulnerable to graft. There is a link between economic growth and wage payment. A well paid motivated worker will definitely be a productive worker.”