The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday, expressed worry that Nigeria’s reported 7.2 per cent growth in the economy has not translated into employment for the 40 million unemployed youths in the country. This was contained in a statement signed by the NLC Vice President, Issa Aremu, while reacting to the protest against illegal recruitment of foreigners to fill vacancies that Nigerians could do by some oil companies.
“President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu must give priorities to Nigerian workers in terms of employment. With almost 40 million of unemployed adults and youths and 50 per cent of unemployment in Nigeria, it is unacceptable that foreign and local companies and employers are recruiting massively, foreign workers at the expense of Nigerian workers.
“To this extent we support the recent protest of the workers under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, together with Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, against the Universal Energy Resources Limited over the employment of foreigners as Chief Security Officers and Community Relations Managers.
“It is bad that the Nigeria’s current growth rate of 7.2 per cent has not translated into employment. It is, however, retrogressive that we allow foreign workers to dominate and suffocate the country’s shrinking labour market. Chinese workers and traders are here in large number especially in cement industry and textile retail trade.
“Who grants them the expatriate quotas for them to do jobs that Nigerians can and should do? Where is the Labour Inspectorate Division of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity charged with the responsibility to maintain minimum standards?” the statement entitled “Employment: President Jonathan must give priority to Nigerian Workers,” read.
Some of the workers protesting the recruitment of foreigners over Nigerians in the oil sector said although it was becoming too much in the sector, it cuts across other sectors. One of them referred to an hotel in Lagos where he once went and even the doorman was Chinese not to talk of the top executives. He said he was told the hotel is owned by a former governor. He lamented the continued recruitment of expatriates over indigenous capable hands that is fast becoming the norm in Nigeria. “Even a Nigerian that studied abroad comes back and gets employed before those equally capable, but whose sin was that they studied in Nigeria. Are we saying our education system is that bad? Our protest should be taken up by other workers in Nigeria, and even the unemployed youths. The foreigners are the ones taking your spaces,” H=he said.