Labour unions must lead campaign for stolen wealth recovery – Falana
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has called on the Nigeria Labour Movement to lead campaign for recovery of stolen wealth and the prosecution of all indicted looters.
He made the call Saturday at the 2016 Pre-May Day Lecture with the theme, 'The fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy'', organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Falana who was represented by Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, the Chairman, Partner for Electoral Reforms said that the need to prosecute indicted looters had become imperative, as there had been diversion of public funds by a handful of public officers.
According to him, government has continued to take toxic loans from foreign financial institutions to fund the escalating costs of governance.
'Under an economy controlled by market forces, the majority of citizens have been denied access to security, welfare and happiness.
'In an arrogant manner, the few public officers and their cohorts who have cornered the commonwealth go around freely.
'The ongoing investigation into the mega looting of the treasury had shown that if the resources of the nation had been judiciously managed, an effective welfare programme could have been established.
'This will run in the interest of the people, although the mega looting of the national treasury is being investigated.''
Falana noted that electricity tariff had been increased even though there was no improvement in electricity supply.
He also said that Nigerians were being forced to pay more for education, health, fuel and other essential social services.
'Since the Federal Government is in a position to borrow N600 billion every month to pay salaries, it should also borrow to fund the welfare programme promised by the APC.
'It is therefore suggested that the stolen wealth being recovered should be channelled towards the funding of a welfare programme for the people,' he added.
He called on the Federal Government to review the National Minimum Wage as it was long overdue in line with the law.
According to him, government is under obligation to provide a living national minimum wage and ensure that condition of work is humane.
He said that government must ensure that the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment were safeguarded and not endangered or abuse.
Also speaking, the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba assured workers that labour and all other progressive forces would continue to meet and provide policy option that must force government to implement agreements.
'The challenges we have in this country is lack of planning, corruption and mismanagement, among others.
'Therefore, we will not expect those issues to change without us engaging our political elites on how best to transform the economy. We must hold our leaders accountable,'' Wabba said.
Earlier, the TUC President, Mr Bobbio Kaigama said labour would continue to liaise with anti-graft agencies to probe state governors who were not able to disburse their bailout funds accordingly.
'I want to assure the Nigerian workers that we will continue to provide the necessary leadership that will benefit the workers,'' he said. (NAN)