The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has felicitated with Muslims in the country as they celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir.
The NLC in a statement issued by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja, Monday also reminded workers to be conscious of the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.
The statement read: “On behalf of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, I extend very hearty felicitation with the Muslim Umma all over the world especially Nigerian Muslims and workers on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
“The celebration of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir reminds us of the mercies and benevolence of Allah.
“Eid-el-Kabir is very significant in the life of every Muslim due to the virtues and values that it conveys. The celebration of Eid-el-Kabir reminds us of the loving provision and sacrifice of Almighty Allah which has continued to sustain humanity.
“It is difficult to imagine what would have been the lot of Ibrahim and Ismail if the Almighty Allah the most beneficent and most merciful did not provide a substitute lamb at the mountain of sacrifice.
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“Indeed, there would be no Eid-el-Kabir without the substitute lamb.
“What would life be without the loving sacrifice of workers? In the spirit of Eid-el-Kabir, workers have sacrificed the pursuit of personal wealth, fame and luxury in order to serve humanity.
“It is not for want of alternative choices that many workers choose to serve.
“Workers work in response to the divine call to be the productive wheels of the human population. In the course of turning the wheels of productivity, workers sacrifice a lot.
“The relevance of work and the role of workers in sustaining humanity is best exemplified by the response of the working-class population in confronting the challenge of COVID-19 which has ravaged the planet for the past two years.
“Just imagine the fate of humanity in the hands of the novel coronavirus disease if there were no nurses, doctors, environmental health inspectors, morticians, laboratory scientists, drivers, pilots, airport workers, maritime workers, cleaners, agricultural workers, civil servants, law enforcement officers and market men and women.
“We are grateful for the hardworking men and women of our country and the world who were used and are still being used by Almighty Allah to keep the wheels of productivity and life going.
“We celebrate our frontline workers who sacrificed personal comfort, safety and in many cases their own lives just to be of service to humanity and to keep the rest of the population safe from the fangs of COVID-19.
“To the workers who paid the ultimate price in the course of service to humanity, we assure you that your sacrifice of love and devotion will never never be forgotten
“As we celebrate the Sallah this year, we must all be mindful of the prevalence of the third wave of COVID-19 which has afflicted many countries of the world with the very virulent Delta variant. We urge all citizens and workers to be on the guard and take necessary precautions.
“We implore our dutiful frontline workers not to let down their guard.
“We urge them to continue to religiously observe all the COVID-19 handling and treatment protocols. We need you alive and well to keep making sacrifices.
“We urge government at every level in Nigeria to prioritize a human-centred approach and built-up resilience to the COVID-19 insurgence.
“As we go through the blizzard of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for stronger commitment to social protection and welfare benefits for the most vulnerable in our society especially workers, the unemployed, women, young persons, the disabled and the aged.
“It is the duty of our government to ensure that the impact of COVID-19 leaves no one behind.
“Elected political office holders, administrators in the bureaucracy and employers in the private sector must not forget the sacrifice by workers. So many times, the labour and sacrifice of workers are held in contempt by those who should appreciate them.
“Employers hold workers in contempt and trample upon the sacrifice they make when they owe workers arrears of salaries and deny them the minimum wage.
“Employers scorn and dismiss the labour of the working class as scotched toil when workers are denied the right to benefit from the dividends of their own investment in productivity.
“In recent times we have witnessed increasing waves of hostility, scorn and contempt on the labour and sacrifice of Nigerian workers by some elected political officeholders.
“Despite earning some of the lowest wages in Africa, Nigerian workers are usually the first to be laid off en masse and at the drop of a hat. We want to use the opportunity of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir to appeal to the conscience of Employers in Nigeria to show some respect for workers’ sacrifice.
“Workers are not slaves to be used, sapped, and tossed aside. Workers are partners in progress. Our labour moves society forward.
“Nigerian workers deserve not just the minimum wage but living wages. We demand wage justice now! State Governors yet to fully implement the national minimum wage and the consequential salary increase belong to the league of politicians who pour contempt and scorn on the sacrifice of Nigerian workers.
“Employers who deny workers social protection benefits regard workers as no better than slaves. Elected political office holders who believe that paying workers their salaries as when due is a misplaced priority have a misplaced sense of judgement. Such do not deserve our respect.
“On this Eid-el-Kabir, workers must not wait for any political office holder or employer to confer worth to our sacrifice. We must be confident that our contribution is making a marked difference between life and death, prosperity and poverty, fulfilment and frustration, progression and retrogression, and cohesion and chaos.
“We must also use this Eid-el Kabir to remember the sacrifice of our soldiers, police officers, and other paramilitary security operatives who toil under the sun and rain, in the bush, jungle, deserts, and mangroves to keep us safe and to keep the corridors of our socio-economic life open for legitimate activities.
“We must remember those of them whose sacrifice is the ultimate price. We must remember the families they left behind.
“There is no sacrifice too big to make for peace. We urge the Muslim Ummah to use the occasion of this Sallah to pray for the forgiveness of sin, peace in our country, for the safe return of all victims of hostage-for-ransom all over the country and for prosperity.
“There can never be development without peace and security.
“We urge those who feel aggrieved with the State to give peace a chance. We appeal to those who feel wronged by the system to give peace a chance. We implore those who feel short-changed by society to give peace a chance.
“Those who are just irresponsible and unleashing wickedness on their fellow citizens should remember that their victims are also victims of an unjust system. Government must strengthen security to rein in criminal elements.
“We will have no country if we all especially workers take out our grievances violently.
“This is why workers will continue to advocate for social dialogue and conciliation in dealing with social grievances, promoting social cohesion and fostering sustainable development.
“Violence is not excusable. Violence can never be the solution. We call on government to take utmost caution not to criminalize social dialogue.
“Social dialogue can only be meaningful when every party comes to the table in good faith.
“Government being the custodian of the ideals of our collective civilization must embrace social dialogue and with utmost good faith.
“Peaceful protest is a form of social dialogue. Peaceful protesters must not be harassed, humiliated, brutalized, maimed, imprisoned or killed.
“Violent crushing of peaceful protest sends a very dangerous signal that civilization and indeed our shared humanity have failed.
“The government as the embodiment of our sovereignty must ensure we never get to that point.
“On this Eid-el-Kabir, we must commend and extend the worthy sacrifice of the Nigerian workforce to all segments of society.
“The Social Partners, Government, Employers, and Workers must all renew our commitment to making worthy sacrifices towards building a peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, secured, and sustainable society.
“Once again, we join all our Muslim compatriots in celebrating this year’s Eid-el-Kabir.”