By Iduozee Paul, Benin
The Edo State chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sunday Osayande and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Marshall Ohue, have cautioned Governor Godwin Obaseki not to allow Edo State Broadcasting Service (EBS) to die.
The duo gave the charge in Benin city at the 2021 May Day event with the theme, “COVID-19, Social and Economic Crisis: Challenges For Job, Social Protection and People’s Welfare.” They urged the state government to review undue and punitive transfer and reduction in ranks and grades of workers in the broadcast establishment.
Comrade Osayande stated: “We wish to bring to your notice the undue punitive transfer, reduction in ranks and grades of workers in Edo Broadcasting Service ( EBS), which has resulted in the loss of promotion and professionalism. A situation where by staff are posted out of EBS and replaced with casual and adhoc workers is not acceptable to Labour,” ,”Comrade Osayande stated.
The TUC chairman, Comrade Marshall Ohue, said the EBS had moved from grace to grass.
Ohue said:”Congress wishes to draw your attention to the unfortunate situation at EBS. It has moved from grace to grass. A situation whereby a seasoned broadcaster, and a news caster with over 20 years’ experience is posted to the ministry, such decision is a decision taken in bad faith.
Congress wishes to advise that the decision should be reversed and the workers allowed to return for the good of the station. EBS must not be allowed to die.”
The union leaders also decried the state of tertiary institutions in the state.
“Congress observed with nostalgia and dismay, the dilapidated and collapsed nature of the state tertiary institutions- College of Education, Ekiadolor; Edo State Polytechnic, Usen; Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma; College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and College of Education, Igueben, where the conditions of workers are now in a decrepit debilitating situation resulting from the non-payment of salaries and other entitlements for up to between five and 16 months respectively as the case may be; the non-implementation of minimum wage in the sector.
“Governments should abolish the 65/35 per cent subvention policy which has strangulated these institutions financially,” Comrade Osayande stated.
Responding to the duo, Governor Obaseki, said the people of Edo State are the greatest assets of the government, and reassured Labour of his administration’s commitment to do more for the people.
The Governor said government was ready to collaborate with Edo State workers to expand the state’s tax net amid dwindling revenue from the federal government to, “enable the government generate more revenue to sustain decent jobs and provide social protection for the people of the state.”
He said government was working fast on the Labour House.
“We are fast-tracking the construction of the Labour House which you will be proud of; a place that will help deepen the cooperation for a robust engagement for the union and government”.
He urged Labour to join the campaign to make citizens embrace tax payment to help government meet its obligations to the people.
“With the dwindling revenue from Abuja how can we continue to do what we are doing in Edo if people do not contribute their quota through tax payment to support the state government?
“I urge Edo State workers to collaborate with the government to enlighten the citizens and encourage them to pay taxes.
“We are calling on workers to help us take the message out so that everyone in Edo can pay something. Without tax revenues, the state will not be able to discharge its responsibility. Government will be able to do more only if the people pay their taxes.
“We must bring in as many eligible people as possible into the tax net to generate more revenue to develop the state,” governor stated.