The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Sunday appealed to workers in Kogi State not to see suicide as a way out of the current hardship imposed on them as a result of non-payment of their salaries.
The state Chairman of the NLC, Mr Onu Edoka, who made the appeal in Lokoja warned the workers against taking extreme actions because the tough time would soon be over.
Edoka, who was reacting to the suicide of a director in the state, Mr Edward Soje on Oct. 16 as a result of financial hardship, insisted that taking one’s life should not be an option.
The deceased’s wife has yet to be informed of the tragic death of her husband.
A source close to the family said a team of pastors and relations who visited her at an Abuja hospital to break the news were advised by the management against it due to her state of health.
Edoka, however, said that many workers and pensioners had died due to non-payment of their salary and pensions by the state government.
According to him, many workers in the state have had their ailments aggravated as a result of lack of salary.
He said that high blood pressure and diabetes had become common among them.
Edoka said that the organised labour had started compiling statistics of workers and pensioners that have lost their lives in the last one year, adding that figures of victims would soon be made public.
Edoka appealed to relatives, friends, religious organisations and good spirited individuals in and outside the state to come to the aid of the workers to stem the tide of untimely deaths.
The NLC Chairman again called on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of workers in Kogi State by sending foods, drugs and other relief materials to them through the National Emergency Management Agency.
He also pleaded with the presidency to set up a fact-finding committee to come and ascertain the true situation of things with workers in the state.
The Chairman expressed displeasure with the state government for taking to the pages of newspapers to publish the names of workers and their salaries.
He explained that the figures quoted by the government was not correct and urged the governor to invite the workers to the negotiation table.
Also, a statement jointly issued by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) described the publication of workers names and salary figures as a wrong step.
“The security implication of this very wrong step is that criminals could get hold of this document and begin to trace the workers whose names government has published.
“Workers are walking the streets of Lokoja like beggars because their salaries and allowances have not been paid for a period of three to twenty-two months by the government,“ the statement said.
The statement signed by Mr Olakunle Faniyi and Mr Kolawole James, state secretaries of NLC and TUC respectively called on the state government to publish the names and the amount being owed cleared workers and pensioners in the past 21 months.
The unions expressed shock on the death of Soje and prayed God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.