EDITORIAL: When anger, violence marred May Day celebrations

EDITORIAL: When anger, violence marred May Day celebrations

A rally planned for the Eagle Square in Abuja to mark this year’s May Day was disrupted as thousands of unionists demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari “must address the suffering workers.”

As in Nigeria, millions of protesters across the world hit the streets to mark the day.

The protests became violent in some parts of Nigeria, France, Turkey, United States of America (USA), Spain and Russia, among others.

Nigerian workers have been pressing for as much 300 per cent increase in minimum wage — from the current N18, 000 to mitigate the impact of official pump price of petrol which jumped from N86 per litre to N145.

The workers complained about what they described as the insensitivity of the federal government to their plight, describing the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the rally as ample evidence of their disregard for labour.

Their protest forced very important dignitaries, including the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige; and former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, to leave the event abruptly.

It is against this background that Aljazirah Nigeria posit that that large crowd that the large crowd that greeted this year’s May Day celebration at the Eagle Square depicted the apathy Nigerian workers had for the present government.

AljazirahNigeria sympathize with the Nigerian workers on the economic realities in Nigeria. It is obvious that their take homes; even for the senior cadre cannot even take them to the bus-stop considering diminishing value of Naira.

AljazirahNigeria demands that the APC-led administration must be held responsible for the suffering of Nigeria’s under-paid workers, even as the economy bites harder.

AljazirahNigeria opines that while Buhari’s absence, who was presumed ill, is understandable, Osinbajo’s preference for honouring an invitation to attend a lecture in Lagos instead of honouring workers at the May Day rally is an evidence that workers.

More worrisome is that up till these moment, the APC led administration keeps referring to the past administration for economic downturn. Nigerians did not vote in APC to give excuses every now and then. Nigerians are beginning to lose trust and hope in APC government and this partly accounts for the frequent suicides that occurred few weeks back

Nigerian Government officials should think through the harmful effects of some of their policies on its citizenry and the economy.

On the part of Nigeria Labour congress, AljazirahNigeria opines that while an increase in the minimum wage is long overdue 300 percent increase minimum wage could cause untold inflation in the country.

In a civilized world, the worker’s union demand x% increase and negotiations/strike will ensue to come to an agreed level of increase that will have little or no effect on the economy.

 AjazirahNigeria think the National Labour Congress needs to be realistic in their request.

Annual increase of x% will be the way forward, rather than asking for almost 300% pay rise in one go. That’s not realistic and it will create problem for the economy.