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‘Over 2,000 Workers Killed In Northeast Yet To Get Benefit’



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said it will write to state governors in the northeast region of the country to demand that workers who were killed in the region as a result of the insurgency in the region.

NLC president, Ayuba Wabba while speaking at the Employment and Decent Work for Peace: National Feedback meeting organised by the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity (AFL-CIO) in collaboration with the NLC puts the number of workers killed in the region at 2,000.

Wabba lamented that years after workers who are breadwinners for their families were killed, no benefits have been paid to their families.

He said teachers, local government workers and health workers were the most affected, stressing that orphans and widows who are victims of insurgency are surviving in contributions from unions.

Meanwhile, statistics gathered by the American Solidarity Cente showed that as at January 2016, 546 teachers, 101 health workers, 6 nurses  have lost their lives in Borno since the commencement of the insurgency.

But Wabba said the NLC is not happy because up till now, their benefit have not been paid to their families.

He said, “We have lost more than 2,000 workers, teachers, local government workers and health workers, because they are usually the first line of casualties. Particularity teachers because the ideology of the insurgents is that they don’t believe in western education. And therefore the first person to be the victim is the teacher because he must be at the place of work to teach the pupil.

“Most of them were killed in active service. I am not happy that their benefits have not been paid. We want to therefore call on all the states that have been affected, that they must give priority to the benefit of these heroes that have died in active service. We will write a formal demand to those governors to say that those workers that have died in active service should be paid their benefit.”

In her remarks, AFL- CIO regional director for Africa, Imani Countess, commended the federal government for establishing a special committee for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the northeast.

Countess however said  key labour stakeholders who ought to have been carried along in design and execution of rehabilitation activities in the state were neglected.

She noted that the fight and defeat of Boko Haram using military and brute force might not sufficiently take care of the insurgency if the causative factors that gave rise to the insurgence was not addressed.

She noted that the unions were the worst hit by the insurgence, adding that the union had proactively shifted from core trade union functions and were now more involved in humanitarian assistance.