By Bimbola Oyesola
With states owing workers despite several bailouts, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to commence investigation into the disbursement of the funds to unearth erring governors.
The TUC at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos stated that most of the bailout funds and present Paris Funds paid to governors purposely to settle backlog of workers’ salaries are being diverted.
The President of TUC, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, while addressing the press after the NEC meeting said the TUC leadership has observed that previous funds were not used for the purposes they were meant for.
“The bailout funds and the Paris funds have become the latest source of corruption among our political leaders,” he said.
As such, the TUC President said its NEC has called on the Federal Government to direct the EFCC, ICPC to probe the use of the funds.
He noted that the agencies should extend investigation beyond the governors to the commissioners and the accountants general in the states, and make necessary arrests to curtail the abuse.
“The governors have seen themselves as untouchable and that is the reason they do what they like but their commissioners, accountants general do not have that immunity. Besides, the governors, if found culpable, can be arrested and made to face the law immediately they leave office,” he said.
Kaigama lamented the plight of workers, which he said has become more unbearable with non-payment of salaries and high cost of living due to the downturn in the economy.
The TUC leadership also condemned government’s deliberate delay in constituting the 29-member committee for National Minimum Wage for the country, warning that organised labour would soon take a drastic action.
“The Federal Government should stop taking labour for granted. I think we have been patient enough and we are ready to take the bull by the horn to ensure that the government sets in process the review of the National Minimum Wage,” he stated.
Kaigama also warned the government on the proposed selective implementation of the Minimum Wage.
He said, “the NEC-in-session condemns the delay and calls on the Federal Government not to task the patience of workers beyond limit as the current wage structure is no longer tenable when viewed against the economic reality on ground.
“The NEC-in-session further condemns the suggestion by the Vice President that the minimum wage would be selectively implemented on Nigerian workers as retrogressive and therefore unacceptable.”
The NEC- in session kicks against it and demands that the minimum wage implementation should be holistic and not selective. Minimum wage is for all and remains and should remain in the exclusive list.”
He however called for government intervention in Food and Beverage sector, just as it has been for other sectors of the economy.
According to Kaigama, government has been paying lip service to food security, noting that this could pose danger for the country.