As the labour movement in Nigeria concludes plans to embark on nationwide industrial action on Tuesday as planned, President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to its leadership to consider the rot his administration inherited.
Buhari made the appeal when he received members of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria led by Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The appeal came barely 24 hours to the commencement of the indefinite industrial action called by labour unions to press for a new national minimum wage.
Buhari said the workers needed to show more understanding especially with the more infrastructure his administration was putting in place with fewer resources.
“President Buhari also appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress to consider what this government inherited and the more it is doing with fewer resources in putting the economy right,” a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, read.
Buhari reassured Nigerians that his administration will sustain massive investments to upgrade and develop the country’s transport and power infrastructure.
The President told the retired Ambassadors that Nigerians will never forget the ‘‘lost opportunity between 1999 and 2015,’’ when the nation had huge resources at its disposal.
He said, “There is no part of the country I haven’t been to, having attempted to be President four times.
“I know the condition of our roads. The rails were literally killed, there was no power despite the admittance of some previous leadership that they spent $16bn on the sector.
“Today, we are getting our priorities right and we believe that of the three fundamental issues we campaigned on – security, the economy and fighting corruption-, we have remained very relevant and Nigerians believe we have achieved something.”
Buhari also appreciated the People’s Republic of China for financing some of the rail and power projects in the country through concessionary loans.
“I will do my best to see that where there are possibilities of making a quick improvement on infrastructure, we will do it,” he said.
The President took note of some concerns raised by the retired Ambassadors including an appeal for the adjustment of their pension entitlements, retention of diplomatic passport for retired career ambassadors, allocation of land for ARCAN headquarters in Abuja and adequate funding of the Foreign Affairs ministry, among others.
Packaged by Alice Egbedele