As Nigerians joined workers all over the world to celebrate May Day, otherwise known as Workers’ Day, a Catholic cleric, Rev. Father John Konyeke Asaba decried the non-signing of Nigeria’s 2016 budget into law.
Delivering a sermon yesterday at the Catholic Church of the Ascension, Asaba, Delta State, Fr. Konyeke pointed out that the non-signing of the budget was affecting workers in Nigeria negatively at both he said formal and non-formal sectors.
Specifically, the workers have been put in chains practically by the reason of the non-signing of the country’s annual budget almost midway into the year, the cleric asserted.
Konyeke queried, “How can the workers be free if by first day of May the budget has not been passed; what will the workers be celebrating? Even in our national anthem, it was clearly stated that ‘the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain…..”
He stressed that it was “not right to play politics with the economy of the nation”, saying the Senate President has not had relief from law since his assumption of office while people were not sure of the situation of things in the country as some workers were being owed salaries for months in most states of the federation.
Noting that most Nigerian were demoralized because they cannot survive on their monthly pay, Fr Konyeke noted, “Today, workers will simply say ‘what are we celebrating? What have our employers done to better our lives when we cannot pay the school fees of our children?’
“There are workers who are not interested in embezzling money, but is their pay for the work they do ok? Many are suffering despite their belief that there is dignity in labour. If you love your neighbour as yourself, you will have regards for workers, you will have respect for the petrol attendants, the rice sellers, including your gardener.”
This is coming on the heels of the charge by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to the workers in Delta State to brace up to the realities thrown up by the current economic downturn in the country, even as he admitted helplessness regarding over six months unpaid salaries of local government workers.