From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
President, National Union of Textiles, Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Comrade John Adaji has advised workers to go for COVID-19 vaccination, even as he told both Federal and State governments not to force Nigerian workers to take the vaccine.
Comrade Adaji, however advised government to use persuasion, and not to coerce or victimise people to go for the vaccine.
He stated this at this year’s Textiles Workers Annual National Education Conference held in ancient city of Minna, Niger State.
“The world is battling with the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and its variants the latest being OMICRON which has been discovered in South Africa and other parts of the World.
“We commend the responses of the Federal government and other stakeholders to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country and mitigate its socio-economic effects.
“The successful rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines has no doubt helped to reduce the rate of infection and mortality globally. We commend the commitment of the Federal government and progressive employers of labour by making the vaccines available.
“The fact still remains that COVID-19 vaccine does not stop one from being infected by COVID or its variants but it boosts the body immunity to fight back when one is infected. I wish to therefore appeal to our members to go and take their vaccines.
“However, no worker or any Nigerian should be victimized for not taking the vaccine. It is a matter of continuous persuasion not coercion or victimization.
“The best prevention still remains strict adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols particularly as it affects physical distancing and regular washing of hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
“In spite of the depressed state of the textile industry and the challenges of COVID-19, it remains the highest employer of labour in the manufacturing sector. We once again express our appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to revive the Nigeria textile and garment industry”.
The NUTGTWN national leader noted that the bane of industrial growth in the country was lack of constant electricity supply.
“There cannot be sustainable industrialisation in Nigeria without stable power supply.
“Unstable electricity is a major factor affecting the growth and development of textile and garment industries in Nigeria. We are therefore here to call for stable power supply for our industries.
“We call on the Federal government to urgently address the perennial problem of unstable power supply in the country which is seriously crippling local industries.
“The three major hydro-electric power stations in Niger State must be made to work at optimal capacity to guaranty stable electricity supply to our dear nation”.
On the importance of the annual education conference, the Textiles Workers Union leader said, “For us in the Textile Union, workers’ education remains an important vehicle for attaining the key objectives of the union and in building union power.
“It has become an integral part of the Union’s organizing component in recent years. Education and skills development of rank and file members had proven critical in building the capacity of the branch, zonal and National leadership of the union.
“The union has also in the recent years used workers’ education as a tool to further our campaign for sustainable industrial policy”.Comrade Adaji stated.