The leadership of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has urged Federal Government to devise measures of alleviating the suffering of Nigerians during this outbreak of Coronavirus in the country.
Mr Quadri Olaleye, President of TUC, made the call in a statement signed by Musa-Lawal Ozigi, Secretary General, TUC, on Thursday in Abuja.
Olaleye, while commending government’s effort towards mitigating the spread of the virus, however, said some of its measures impacted negatively on the people.
He explained that the recent closure of the land and sea borders had rendered some Nigerians who earned daily living from the borders jobless.
The TUC president said the businesses of many Nigerians had also been affected by the border closure.
He said the importance of shelter could not be overemphasised adding that many people might not be able to afford rent during the period.
Olaleye said: “we must appreciate government efforts so far, but there is need to draw attention to some deficiencies inherent, which may incapacitate an average Nigerian from adapting to all the measures.
“We call on Federal Government to devise a way to alleviate the suffering of the people as most Nigerians are daily paid workers.
“We are suggesting to the Government to direct all home owners to do waivers on rents during this period as this will alleviate the burdens of Nigerians.
“We charge the government to reduce the tax burden on the workers and the general public through tax waiver.
“TUC is strongly requesting employers of labour, including government, to pay salaries promptly during this period, while ensuring no job loss, as this would not only sustain labour force but reduce unemployment rate.
“Similarly, the news of receipt of relief materials from Mr Jack Ma, as donation towards combating the virus came very timely.
“So we urge the government to make the kits available to citizens freely as some of them are in short supply, while profit takers have increased the price beyond the reach of the poor Nigerians.”
The TUC president reiterated the union’s commitment to support the government in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
He, however, urged the government to compel Government officials with travel history in the last three weeks or that have contact with the like to subject themselves to test and self-isolation.
Olaleye implored the Government and the general public to continue to treat each other with respect and in a dignified manner.
He said: “We must all work together through individual and collective efforts to turn the tide against this pandemic.
“We are confident that an increased message of hope and further active steps to help in curbing further infections would bring lasting solution to the pandemic.
“We call on all citizens not to fall into the trap of fake news and to scrutinise news sources because there are peddlers of misinformation, particularly on the internet to cause panic and confusion.
“We also encourage all Nigerian workers and business owners to heed to Government directive and take active steps to protect human life and curtail further spread of the virus in our Nation.’’
In solidarity, the TUC president directed all its State Councils and affiliates currently embarking on or considering an industrial action to suspend such and join in the efforts to curtail Coronavirus spread in Nigeria.
“We also appeal to the State governments and employers of labour to reciprocate this gesture by resolving the issues in dispute in the interest of peace and harmony.
“We use this opportunity to remind everyone, including those in power that we are all humans and connected in more ways than we know and should, therefore, treat each other as humans.