The Federal Government has denied reports in some quarters that the letter from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to President Muhammadu Buhari on the dangers of extending ongoing lockdown in the country contained threat.
The NLC had in the letter signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, had warned any attempt by Buhari to extend the lockdown would breed unrest, citing the hardship the development has brought upon Nigerians already.
Many, however, interpreted the letter to mean a threat from the NLC to the president should the lockdown be extended eventually.
But reacting to such claims in Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-19 pandemic, Boss Mustapha, said there was no threat from the union as rumoured in some quarters.
His words: “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.”
Mustapha went on to explain that Buhari would decide on the two weeks inter-state lockdown proposed by the governors.
Recall that governors across the federation had in its virtual meeting held on Wednesday agreed on the implementation of a two-week inter-state lockdown to combat spread of the pandemic following increasing transmission of the disease at communal levels.
He added: “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.”