By Joan Nwagwu
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has embarked on campaign directed at workers and pensioners to acquire voting power to oust deceptive and bad politicians, including governors.
NLC has, therefore, directed workers and pensioners who are yet to register to do so and obtain voters card.
Mr. Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, gave the order when he paid a familarisation visit to the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) National Secretariat on Tuesday in Abuja.
Wabba said this was imperative as governors and other political office holders with anti-labour tendencies were on the increase.
He said the political elites have the notion that pensioners and workers do not have any political value, hence salaries and pensions were not being paid.
“A lot of politicians say workers and pensioners do not have political value and therefore it is a big challenge, they even claim that we do not have voters card.
“We are going to embark on a vigorous campaign for workers and pensioners to register and obtain their voters card.
“Because a process has been opened for workers, pensioners and their families to acquire voters’ card, where it is missing, revalidate it. We have the number.’’
He said that were over eight million Nigerians in NLC alone without the pensioners.
“So we have the number to challenge any politician and make them realise that we are a force to reckon with.’’
According to him, let us awaken this consciousness and make sure we do what is right because we also have to engage the process and be able to represent our members.
“Because the notion also is that we are very comfortable and that we do not have voters card. It is very important for us to engage the system,’’
He called on the leadership of the NUP, to as a matter of urgency, issue a circular to pensioners in the 744 Local Government Areas to ensure that they have their voters’ card.
“Even if a pensioner is on a wheel chair, he must get his card because we must also exercise our value and contribute to the system for our benefits.’’
The NLC president described as unfortunate and a challenge that workers and pensioners were continually agonised as some states do not pay them their entitlement regularly, adding that it must be stop.
“The constitution has made it very clear that pension is a right after working diligently for the service of your nation for 35 years and having attained the mandatory age of 60.
“Retirement ought to be sweet, but in most cases retirement these days is not sweet, you are always on one verification or the other.’’
Wabba added that NLC’s National Executive Council would meet to deliberate on a campaign strategy that would ensure that all workers, pensioners, their family, and dependant have a voter’s card.
He also assured the NUP that the problem of minimum wage for workers and pension would be tabled before governments at all levels.
Responding, Mr Abel Afolayan, NUP President decried the non-payment of the arrears of 33 per cent pension increase since 2010.
According to Afolayan, civilian pensioners are being owed 18 months arrears, while the police pensioners are owed 39 months.
“To be frank with you, some pensioners go home monthly with as low as N4,000 only. This is highly unfair and greatly inhuman.
“We also have issues with some states governments over slash in pension arrears, among other issues and we will want you to assist us,’’ he said. (NAN)