From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the retirement age of 50 years for public workers should also be applied to politicians in the country, saying they too must strictly adhere to it.
NLC President Ayuba Wabba made this position known at the 5th NLC Gender Conference on Tuesday in Abuja. He argued that if workers above the age of 50 are being asked to retire from active service, it should also apply to politicians.
‘You don’t bring a policy that suits only you. If workers above 50 years should retire, then it should apply to politicians as well,’ the labour leader said.
Wabba said women have proven to be great leaders by excelling when given opportunities given to serve, stressing that women in Nigeria deserve to be given more than 35 per cent quota in leadership positions.
He went on to urge politicians to give women the opportunity and space to fully participate in politics not just because they were more in number but because of their potentials of being great leaders.
‘Leaders are afraid of women taking their position. Because women are very important and great leaders. Women deserve the rightful place in our society,’ he stated.
‘If we have women as governors we will not be talking about removing minimum wage from the concurrent list to the executive list. 30% wage is poor and most times they don’t get it. Most countries are 70% now because they have seen the importance of women in leadership positions.
‘Women bear the burden of the family and all the areas where there are insecurities women and youth bear the burden. This is why we must recognise them and give them their rightful place in society.
‘Women have addressed the issue of diversity in governance in many countries in the world. Women don’t steal like some of our men do; records show women are good at keeping the resources of our country.
‘We don’t only need women during elections or voting periods. Women and youth constitute 60% of our population.’
Also speaking, the Acting Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Office, Mr David Dorkenoo, stated that several documented studies by different institutions in the last year have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic deepened existing gender inequalities.
‘To address the inequalities, especially in the world of work, the importance of the role of the ILO tripartite partners cannot be overemphasised,’ Dorkenoo said.
‘The ILO tripartite constituents can make a vital contribution to promote gender equality through inclusive policy-making as well as gender inclusiveness representation in policymaking.
‘Tripartite constituents need to see a greater role for stronger universal and sustainable social protection policies, investment in supporting families with care work, advocating women as leaders. They should also ensure the dignity and safety of women and men in the labour market for a better present and future times.’
Chairperson, NLC National Women Commission, Mercy Okezie, said there was an urgent need to further discuss and adopt measures to protect women’s rights, uphold respect and dignity of all workers in this very difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic.