Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has said the letter from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), contained no threat should there be a lockdown extension.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, Boss Mustapha, gave this clarification in Abuja, yesterday.
President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, had written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning of possible breakdown of law and order if the ongoing lockdown was extended, raising concerns over the plight of the working class.
Mustapha said the Federal Government had been progressing with the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak while in constant communication with the NLC.
“There’s no threat from Labour. As matter of fact, the reason why I was slightly late to this press conference was because the President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba was with me. He had written a letter, quite alright. He was also in the same manner suggesting ways; you know they represent the working class, they also listen to what is happening, they see what is happening in different climes. Ayuba Wabba is not only the president of NLC, he’s also the international president of the labour movement.
“I believe he’s consulting all over the world, listening to his workers in different countries and also taking experiences of how other nations are dealing with the lockdown because the entire world is on a lockdown. Some who had the infection earlier are beginning to ease out the lockdown, as they have succeeded in flattening the curve and they begin to move into bringing their nations’ back into productive sessions and also getting their systems back into life.
“So there’s no threat from Labour, we are consulting with them. They have opinions that they share with us and at every step of what we have done thus far, we have kept contact with the working class to ensure that at least, their views are adequately taken.”
He said President Buhari will decide on the two weeks national lockdown proposed by the governors.
Governors of the 36 states had on Wednesday “unanimously” agreed to the implementation of an Inter-State lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to help check the spread of COVID-19 from state to state.
He said every inputs including that of the governors would be collated by the committee and a report submitted to the president.
“Basically what they (governors) are suggesting is that travels from one state to the other should be stopped with certain exemptions of essential services, petroleum products, farm inputs, fertilizer so that we can keep the wheel of our economy ready. That is their proposal. Federal Government is yet to take a decision and as to whether that will be part of our report, the presidential taskforce will meet and take holistic look at all the proposals that are coming in as to the next line of action going forward.”