Strike an additional hardship on Nigerians, says OPCI President * urges govt to stem insecurity, inflation, poverty Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin

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The national strike embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart has been described as an additional pain and hardship on the hapless citizens as it will hurt the nation’s economy badly, according to the National President of Oodua Progressive Care Initiative, Dr. Maruff Olarewaju, in a statement in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Monday.

The OPCI President lamented that, just in a day, economic activities have been brought to a standstill by the strike, saying it would never bring any good to the Nigerian economy, but it would only “benefit certain sections of the people”.

Dr. Olarewaju adduced the current
economic hardship and astronomical cost of living Nigerians are passing through to some recent government policies, including border closure, though it was aimed at regulating human and material movements then, lamenting that an unintended consequence of the policy was the drastic reduction of some daily essentials like food.

He added: “The incessant herders/farmers crises, which led to farmers abandoning their farms due to fear of herders’ attacks, further exacerbated the issue that led to scarcity of food in the country.

“The removal of petroleum subsidy, intended to combat fraud, resulted in frequent increases in fuel prices, leading to higher transportation costs and rapid price hikes in food items.

“These factors combined have caused unprecedented hardship for citizens, prompting calls from the NLC for a new minimum wage to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian workers.

“Moreover, a mere increase in worker’s salary may not adequately address the issue, especially when considering the significant disparity between the working population and the total population of the country, majority of whom are not government workers.

“With less than 40% of the population being part of the formal workforce, a salary increase may only benefit a limited segment, leaving many others struggling to make ends meet. To effectively tackle hardship, a more comprehensive approach might be necessary, such as:
– Implementing policies to improve food security and access to essential goods
– Addressing income inequality through social safety nets and support programs
– Investing in education and job creation to increase the workforce participation rate
– Encouraging economic diversification to reduce reliance on a single industry
– Strengthening price control measures to prevent unjustified price hikes.”

He stressed the need for the
adoption of a multifaceted strategy that would enable the government to better address the root causes of hardship and work towards ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities for all Nigerians.

“I believe this solution will address the root causes of hardship and may even quench the rising inflation. In conclusion, the government must address the underlying issues mentioned above to find a lasting solution to our economic woes.”


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