President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday appealed to various labour unions in the country to reduce their agitations to enable his administration to concentrate on repairing damaged infrastructure.
He spoke during a meeting with the executive committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students at the State House in Abuja.
Buhari specifically mentioned the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and urged the striking teachers to appreciate the efforts of his administration at fixing collapsed infrastructure.
“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”, a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying.
Buhari added he would speak to ASUU to call off the current industrial action “so that they don’t encroach on your efforts to qualify (graduate) in time.”
In a veiled reference to the call by ASUU that the government should meet its financial demands, Buhari told the students that he had laid bare the income and expenditure of the government in the 2019 budget for all to see.
“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 added.
However, he assured labour unions that he meant well for Nigeria by focusing more on rebuilding collapsed infrastructure for now.
Speaking earlier, NANS President, Danielson Bamidele-Akpan, praised the administration’s efforts in tackling insurgency in the North-East.
NANS also sought urgent government intervention to end the ongoing strike by ASUU.
A member of the National Executive Committee of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Issa Aremu, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to nip in the bud the planned nationwide protest slated for January 8, 2019 by the workers by sending the N30,000 minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for consideration.
Aremu, who made the call on Thursday in Ilorin while hosting market men and women for the New Year, also urged the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, to emulate his father, Dr Olusola Saraki, by ensuring the speedy passage of the bill.
The NLC is planning a nationwide march of workers to protest non-implementation of the new minimum wage for the workers by the Federal Government.
Aremu said, “The strike is preventable if the President acts fast. I know his love for the poor, especially the market women. He should promptly send the executive bill to the National Assembly.”
He said the President should play his own part and leave the NLC with state governors who were not willing to pay the wage, adding, “We will make their states ungovernable because they are going against the spirit and the letter of the Nigerian Constitution on minimum wage.”
“It is in the Exclusive List; so those concerned governors should not truncate it.”