*REDUCING THE PLIGHT OF NIGERIANS*

By The People's Bishop Kenneth Obi
   
For a good number of Nigerians in paid employments, it is no longer a secret that their take-home pay hardly lasts them beyond the first week after collecting their salaries. There are house rents to pay, food-stuff to buy and several domestic demands to meet, including children’s school fees. Enough money also has to be kept aside for transportation during the month.

There is hardly any category of workers who are not complaining and quite a few who depend solely on their legitimate salaries alone. This situation exposes many workers to numerous temptations and agonies which give rise to corrupt practices or falling prey to heartless money lenders, in an effort to survive the hard times.

The plight of pensioners is equally pathetic and tragic. Apart from the problem of anxiety and uncertainty when salaries and pensions would be paid, regular and retired workers often have pathetic stories to tell. For retirees, the situation is compounded by ailing health and loss of self-esteem as a result of having to beg those who would have been their subordinates or messengers for one favour or another.
It may not be known in higher circles that the process of getting gratuities paid, even after waiting for up to four years, involves some horse-trading-to put the name of the game politely! Those who had served diligently and retired honorably deserve better deal.

The plight of a large number of jobless youths is really heart-breaking. One begins to wonder why Nigeria is in such a pathetic state where social security cannot be provided as a means of curbing many ills which often arise from mass unemployment. It is even more heart-breaking when one thinks of the level of profligacy and mindless squandering of public resources by a few privileged people.

Is no secret that there are lots of economic abuses, looting of public funds and absence of accountability in high places. A number of Nigerians are aware of the level of corruption and hypocrisy in the system and in a mismanaged economy, the reactions of the masses can be predicted quite easily.
Private sector workers are not left out in the current economic plight, as “down-sizing” of the workforce and payment of half-salaries have become quite common. Companies that were quite buoyant a few years ago are now folding up or relocating to other places, and of course, their workers would be laid-off. Even banks are not finding the economic situation friendly and their workers live in fear of losing their jobs. Perhaps, multi-national oil and gas companies may not feel the heat of the hard time and their workers, being the envy of the time, often face a different kind of plight, namely: fear of kidnappers. There are those who rest neither by day, nor sleep by night. Some move with police escorts.

High cost of food-stuff compound the plight of the Nigerian masses, and, one of the reasons for high cost of food-stuff is the wide-spread menace of cattle and herdsmen. Despite what anybody may say to the contrary, farmers have been known to run home from their farmlands, complaining of the presence of several cattle grazing in their farms.

High cost of governance, with a large retinue of special advisers and sinecure-holders, make public administration in Nigeria the most juicy engagement. Is it false that political office holders take home an average of three million naira a month, as well as their food, drinks, fuel and newspapers being paid from public funds? Is it not time that we revisit the issue of lavish spending of public funds?

One way to reduce the plight of Nigerians, especially civil servants, is to work out a system of payment of salaries every two weeks rather than monthly. In civilized countries workers get paid on weekly basis so that no one would go to a money lender in order to feed. Those who had asserted in the past that no Nigerian was yet picking food from dustbin should move round, without police escort, to see what’s happening.

Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice is the Best way to Go Raising Anti Corruption Crusaders fighting Injustices in a Violent and Immoral Society of Nigeria for a Better Nigeria come 2019.

For more information: 08038276188, 08033376734, 08038754069 & 07034463316. USA contacts: 6787487829 & 2149005848.

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