Ahead of the planned resumption of strike by organised labour to pressure government to implement the N30,000 minimum wage, President Muhammadu Buhari, has appealed to them to allow his administration concentrate on fixing infrastructure in the country rather than distracting it.
Labour had in its communiqué of December 20, 2018 said that it would no longer attend any meeting on the minimum wage as the time for meeting had passed.
Organised labour had condemned the proposed setting up of a high-powered technical committee after a tripartite committee had completed its assignment with recommendations to President Buhari.
They maintained that with the expiration of the ultimatum on December 31, 2018, they would mobilise for a nationwide protest to shut down the economy from January 8.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had embarked on strike on November 4, 2018 over FG’s alleged inability to fulfill the agreements signed with the union in 2009.
Speaking while playing host to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in State House, Abuja, on Thursday, President Buhari said that he had explained in details while presenting the 2019 budget estimates, the earnings and expenditure and therefore expected the elite to understand the position of government on certain issues, adding that it was the responsibility of the government to look after the employed as well as the unemployed.
While calling on the students to continue to plead with ASUU, the president assured that he would speak with the lecturers’ body “so that they don’t encroach on your efforts to qualify in time.”
The president urged the youths to start preparing themselves to lead the country saying: “There is a tendency for you to think that you can do better than anybody , but it is very good for you to know the facts that leadership entails.”
He assured labour leaders that having been in positions of leadership at various stages in life, and with his experience, he meant well for Nigerians and indeed, workers, and should be allowed to fix infrastructure so that more Nigerians would be taken out of the poverty cycle.
“I am totally loyal to this country. Whatever I do is in the interest of the ordinary people especially those who do not have the benefit of being educated like you, and are just trusting whoever is leading them,” he said.
“In three and a half years, we have improved tremendously on what we met. We are trying to do infrastructure. No matter which part of the country you come from, you will see the efforts we are making in terms of roads; we are trying to fix rails; we are trying to do power, through the use of gas and solar. If you note what we have done in these three and a half years, you will not regret voting this administration into power.”
President Buhari also stated that Nigeria was doing very well in agriculture as the country was about to attain food sufficiency and security.
President Buhari expressed his gratitude to the students for appreciating some of the things his administration had been able to put in place and called on them to mobilise support for government, as it strove to make Nigeria a better place.
Earlier in their remarks, the students, led by their president, Danielson Akpan, expressed appreciation for the efforts of the administration, especially in the transformation of the transportation sector as well as the decimation of terrorists in the North East.
They, however, requested government to intervene in the incessant strikes in the education sector, involve more youths in governance, and look into the plight of students in different institutions who have been expelled for ‘political’ reasons.