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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has criticised the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, over his comment that the shutting down of the National Grid on Monday by the Organised Labour amounted to treasonable felony and economic sabotage.

In a statement late Friday by a spokesperson for the NLC, Benson Upah, Labour said economic saboteurs wear flowing Agbada (robes), drive in convoys and occupy the corridors of power.

On Thursday, Akume said the shutdown of the National Grid by members of the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) amounted to treasonable felony. He lamented the loss of revenue by the Federal Government due to the action of the Organised Labour.

Labour shut down the National Grid on Monday and restored it on Tuesday after it relaxed its industrial action to press home demands for new minimum wage.

However, Labour said the demands of workers are grounded in the need for economic justice and fairness for all Nigerian workers and citizens.

“The demands of the NLC and TUC are clear and just. We seek the conclusion and signing into law of a new national minimum wage that is in sync with the realities of the cost of living, a reversal of the hike in electricity tariff to N65/kWh, and an end to the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into bands. These demands are grounded in the need for economic justice and fairness for all Nigerian workers and citizens.

“The SGF we are sure clearly knows those whose actions are treasonable and sabotages our economy. Those who loot our treasury around the country, those who divert public resources meant for hospitals and schools; those who are involved in foreign exchange roundtripping: padding of budgets and inflating contracts including those who steal trillions of Naira in the name of subsidy are the real economic saboteurs who commit treasonable felony.

These people are in costly Agbada and drive in convoys all around the nation occupying the corridors of power and not innocent workers who are not slaves but chose to withdraw their services because of the inhuman treatment meted on them by the Government.

“It is particularly disheartening that the SGF, a high-ranking government official, would make statements that trivialize the genuine grievances of Nigerian workers. His assertion that he cannot afford to pay each of his four drivers N100,000 monthly is a stark reminder of the disconnect between the government and the realities faced by ordinary Nigerians. Such statements do not contribute to the resolution of the issues at hand but rather exacerbate tensions,” the statement partly read.

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