Abbas: Nigeria’s Security Precarious, Economy Daunting

•Says labour’s proposed strike’ll aggravate situation

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon.  Tajudeen Abbas, has lamented that the country’s security remained precarious even in the face of numerous successes recorded by the gallant security personnel.

He also added that the economic challenges of the country also remained daunting on several economic fronts.

Abbas, therefore, appealed to the Nigerian Labour Congress to consider the various actions being taken by the federal government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians, stressing that embarking  on strike would  aggravate the situation

The speaker stated this yesterday while welcoming lawmakers back from the annual recess.

His words: “I need not remind you of the enormous challenges confronting our nation at this time. They are challenges that will engage our attention in the coming days and months. National Security remains precarious even in the face of numerous successes recorded by our gallant security personnel.

“Only a few days ago, the nation was rocked by the gruesome murder of a joint team of security personnel in Ehime Mbano of Imo State.

“A similar sad incident happened in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, when scores of soldiers were ambushed and gruesomely murdered by terrorists. Sadly, some female students of the Federal University, Gusau were abducted by terrorists while there were reports of travellers being kidnapped along the Opi-Enugu Road.”

Abbas noted that Superintendent Okpolonwo Agbashim, Divisional Police Officer in Ahoada Local Government Area of Rivers State was brutally murdered by deadly cultists, while in Plateau State, there were equally distressing reports of attacks on communities.

He said while they mourned the loss of fellow citizens, who had to pay the supreme price in the line of duty, he also condemned attacks on the states and citizens in strongest terms.

“However, our best response will be the deployment of our legislative powers and instruments to ensure the security of life and property across the country.”

While decrying that the economic challenges remained as daunting as they were before they embarked on recess, he stated: “The country is challenged on several economic fronts: cost of living crisis occasioned by high cost of energy, cost of food is skyrocketing daily, lack of livable wages, the negative effects of the unpredictable and fluctuating foreign exchange rates, a disappearing middle class and a host of other issues.

“When people are hungry and despondent, what is needed is a leadership with a clear vision, a leadership that, on a daily basis demonstrates its commitment and capacity to tackle the challenges at hand; a leadership that should be innovative in proffering short and long term solutions. That is what Nigerians need at this time and as representatives of the people, we must rise up to the occasion.”

The speaker said while the executive arm of government was engaging the citizens and trying to work out strategies to tackle the hardship in the country, the Green Chamber’s legislative actions must, therefore, be dictated by a clear robust vision aimed at supporting the executive in restoring citizens on the path of prosperity.

He noted that they must deploy the necessary legislative instruments to create jobs, ensure payment of living wages in the civil service, pull Nigerians out of poverty, address the prevailing infrastructure deficit, rid the country of crippling insurgency; ensure the security of lives and property and affordable functional education so that no child is left behind.

His words: “On account of these economic challenges, the organised labour under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) seems to have lost patience with the painstaking effort of the government to plan and provide sustainable minimum wage and palliatives to citizens.

“The organised labour it appears would embark on a nationwide strike by this midnight following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued to the government. As the peoples’ representatives, we feel and equally share in the pains of our people at these very difficult times.

“However, I would like to appeal to the Nigerian Labour Congress to consider the various actions being taken by the federal government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians.

“As promised earlier, this House remains committed to getting a survival wage to all Nigerian workers. The 10th House had assured Nigerians that we would be interfacing between the organised labour and the government to quickly work out a realistic new national minimum wage and such other palliatives to enable citizens cope with the economic impact of fuel subsidy removal, the downward fall of the naira to the dollar, skyrocketing cost of food and general high cost of living in the country.

“It is in our considered opinion that embarking on a nationwide strike at this point will only aggravate an already bad situation. I, therefore, urge the leadership of Labour Unions to give us the benefit of doubt and suspend any  planned strike action while we engage the executive.”

He said it has not been entirely woes and gloom for the nation as the country has been presented with opportunities and prospects to turn the tide around.

He said only recently, President BolaTinubu recorded a huge diplomatic and economic breakthrough with the United Arab Emirates, which would see the resumption of issuance of visa to Nigerians by the UAE and the return of Emirates Airlines to Nigerian skies.

Abbas said in the coming days, the executive arm of government was expected to present a 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill as well as the 2024 Appropriation Bill to the House.

He noted that, it was expected that the time to consider these Bills would be short, while urging the members to roll-up their sleeves and get to work immediately to ensure the speedy consideration of the Bills that would encapsulate the yearnings of the people.

“While we will maintain the tradition established by the 9th House in terms of speedy consideration of the appropriation bills, we must diligently consider the bills to ensure that they meet the needs of our constituents. We have to put in extra work hours to ensure that the budget is passed in good time to enable its implementation from the first day of 2024,” he said.

Related Articles