By Appolos Christian
As the glaring challenges occasioned by novel Coronavirus continue to affect every facet of the world economy especially in Africa, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on government at all levels in the country to forthwith invest seriously in the health and education sectors to boost productivity and sustainable development.
The President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who made this called at the award Investiture on the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) president, Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, carried out by the Ethics Resource Centre of Nigeria, stressed that COVID-19 has exposed the incapacities of the two sectors.
Comrade Wabba, further said the pandemic has thrown up the need for government all over the world to priotise education and health as they shape development across the world.
He also enjoined workers to upgrade their skills in accordance with the technology as it drives the process of development and production everywhere in the world.
“We are in the fourth industrial revolution and in this revolution, it is technology that drives the process of development and production everywhere in the world. Therefore, these are times to upgrade or skills because there are lots of opportunities brought by the new digital era. We will have new forms of employments and relationships.
“The COVID-19 has exposed some challenges in two critical sectors of the economy. These two sectors, Education sector and Health sector, shape development everywhere around the world. Therefore we need more investment in health and we need more investment in education. Our people need to be healthy and educated to be productive.”
Congratulating the MHWUN president, Wabba said; “Let me appreciate the Ethics Resource Center, for finding the union fit and for also looking at the development that has transformed the union to where it is today, from 2011 to date. I think it’s a honour well deserved because even other unions in the committee of unions have come to agree that the Medical and Health workers Union of Nigeria is one of the leading unions if not the leading union in the country today.”
Joyed by the honour conferred on him, President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, used the opportunity to canvass for a fair treatment of his union members, by urging the minister of health to urgently correct the error made during payment of covid-19 hazard allowance.
He said since the ministry has accepted there was an error, the ideal thing is to address it without further delay so as not to push the workers into an avoidable industry action.
“We entered into agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health where the Ministry agreed that there was error in the implementation of the COVID-19 allowances. People who are earning N5,000 that ought to have been prepared on 50 percent were given 10 percent. Well, in our traditional way, we didn’t immediately rush on to strike, we engaged government and they have seen that reason. We are believing and hoping that before they pay the third batch, that correction will be made.
“Thank God the press is here. I want to make a very bright appeal to the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the Nigerian government. Do not lead us into temptation. I say again, do not lead us into temptation. Because if you lead us into temptation when we have expressed very high level of patience, you will not be forgiven by nature, God and the people. That correction should be made along with every other demand we have made peacefully should be given to us so that they don’t push us into embarking on strikes that we know will be negatively impactful on the Nigerians.
“I am not going to close the door on dialogue, but dialogue cannot be inexhaustible. Dialogue must have a mark where it starts and ends, but where we begin to see that they are igniting our appetite to distrust them, that will be the signal for war.”
Expressing his delight to be awarded as the medical worker of the decade, he said: “Its beyond expression and it is out of the ordinary especially now that we are at the forefront fighting to protect Nigerians from the savage that is COVID-19.”