Nige­ri­ans united by un­em­ploy­ment-Aremu

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Nu­rud­deen M. Ab­dal­lah

Nigeria must cre­ate in­dus­trial and sus­tain­able jobs for its over 113mil­lion cit­i­zens liv­ing be­low poverty line, a labour del­e­gate at the Na­tional Con­fer­ence Com­rade Issa Aremu has said.

“Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics (NBS) 112.519 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans of the coun­try’s es­ti­mated 179 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion live in rel­a­tive poverty con­di­tions,” he said.

He said the re­cent Im­mi­gra­tion re­cruit­ment tragedy shows the coun­try is united by un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment. “There is no ‘Mus­lim’ or ‘Chris­tian’ un­em­ployed! There are Nige­rian un­em­ployed,” he said.

He said Nigeria’s 112mil­lion poor are four times the 22 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion of Uganda and eight times pop­u­la­tion of Zam­bian Repub­lic.

He said govern­ment should cre­ate in­dus­trial and sus­tain­able jobs, adding that “okada rid­ing is not a de­cent sus­tain­able job. Sell­ing or­bit chew­ing gum or recharge cards is not a sus­tain­able job.”

“The best sus­tain­able jobs that can pay min­i­mum wages and pen­sions are in­dus­trial jobs. In­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and value ad­di­tions are the only ways to sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment,” the labour chief­tain said.

He said “we must rise from this con­fer­ence to ur­gently re-in­dus­tri­al­ize the coun­try. With apol­ogy to the great African writer, late Chinua Achebe, there was once a coun­try that had good things in­clud­ing in­dus­tries.”

One of these in­dus­tries, he said, was UNTL. “In 1995 when in full pro­duc­tion, UNTL em­ployed 10,000 di­rect jobs twice the Im­mi­gra­tion 4,500 va­can­cies. UNTL em­ployed thou­sands not through stam­pede and deaths of ap­pli­cants that char­ac­ter­ized limited pub­lic em­ploy­ment va­can­cies of late,” he said.

He said Nigeria should take its leading panAfrican lead­er­ship role in the coun­try, say­ing “Nigeria can­not be at peace when the rest of Africa is at war and neck deep in avoid­able con­flicts. So, also if Nigeria is not at peace with it­self, Africa can hardly pros­per. We are nat­u­ral leader of the African con­ti­nent.”

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