We’re extremely sensitive to welfare of our workers, says Rauf Aregbesola
THE Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has reiterated that his administration remains very sensitive to the welfare of workers in the state.
The governor stated this while receiving the Area Comptroller, Oyo and Osun Command of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Mr. Muhammed Bawa who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Osogbo.
He described the present financial situation of state that has made it unable for the state government to pay workers’ salary as disheartening and painful, saying however that no one can suggest or establish a single instance of recklessness on the part of his government
The governor also held that an efficient and effective custom services is a veritable tool for improving the economy of the nation.
Aregbesola noted that a sure way for the country to protect and expand its economy is by ensuring that local industries are being protected adequately by the country’s Customs services.
He also added that customs is an essential security service for a sovereign state, saying that the customs services should be on top of its game by contributing positively to the nation’s economic development.
Aregbesola noted that for the economic development of the sub-region of West Africa to be fast-tracked, there must be a free customs zone in the sub-region of Africa.
According to him, “Nigeria at this time needs an effective and efficient custom to improve and expand the economy of the country.
“Customs must screen products from foreign countries to ensure that they don’t affect the produce and production of our indigenous companies, doing this will give room for industrialisation.
“It is only when people have job to do that their welfare and other needs will be guaranteed. This will also allow a safe society”. The governor pointed out.
The governor appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with customs officials in the discharge of their duties.
Speaking earlier, the Area Comptroller of Customs Oyo and Osun Command, Mr. Muhammed Bawa, said his command has come to Osun to meet with auto-dealers in the state to educate them on how to legally run their business.
He admitted that the state unlike other state has few cases of illegal importation being a landlocked state, but noted that many illegally imported vehicles still find their way to the state
The customs boss said, “We have come to this state to meet with motor dealers, we have come to advice on government compliance regulations to enhance understanding and compliance to rules and regulation of the land.
“We want to reach them so that most of the illegally imported vehicles do not come to Osun, and it wouldn’t be seen as being a harsh decision when officials of customs perform their legitimate functions”. The custom chief emphasised.
Aregbesola, while explaining why the various security agencies have not been able to enjoy the usual regular support from his government, said the regular employees of his government are being owed not due to the fault of his administration, but due to the unforeseen sharp economic downturn in the country.
He said without sounding self congratulatory, his government approached governance from the people-oriented point adding that his comprehensive programmes to transform the state remains intact despite what he called the temporary setback.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Osogbo, the state capital, was brought to its knee as pensioners protested in the streets, asking Governor Rauf Aregbesola to quickly facilitate the payment of their eight months pension and gratuities.
The protesters, armed with placards bearing various unprintable inscriptions, claimed that their unpaid entitlements had led to the death of about 230 members since last year that their ordeal started.
They had earlier stormed the House of Assembly to convey their grievances to the lawmakers but were disappointed as the speaker and other lawmakers were not available to attend to them.
However, business activities in Osogbo were paralysed yesterday while people had to trek long distances as the retirees took over major roads in the state capital. From the state assembly to the popular Olaiya junction, where they later converged to address the public, vehicular movement was hampered while motorists had to detour to alternative routes to avoid being caught in the gridlock.
Interestingly, security operatives, who were alerted to the situation, were literarily on holiday as the senior citizens conducted themselves in peaceful manner.
Addressing a rally at Olaiya junction, chairman of the Osun chapter of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr. J.A. Olunlade, painted a gory picture of their ordeal, disclosing that the association had lost about 230 members since last year due to their inability to access medical care, while many others starved and could not afford their children’s school fees.
He appealed to the state government to take urgent steps to bail members out of poverty, preventable illnesses and sudden death. According to Olunlade, the retirees are not against the state government but are in dire need of money to maintain their families after they had served the society meritoriously.
“Empty promises by government and its insensitivity to the plight of pensioners, which have led to the untimely death of many and inability of others to meet their financial obligations, have become a recurring decimal and we are fed up with these,” he said.
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