Unemployed youth storm Jos council; seek to replace striking workers

Young Nigerians protesting unemployment

The youth said they would be glad to receive what the workers are rejecting.

Dozens of unemployed youth, Thursday, besieged the headquarters of Jos South Local Government Area seeking to replace striking council workers.

The youth, under the umbrella of the ‘State Association of Un-employed Youth,’ came with individual application letters and said they were willing to replace the striking the workers. Local Government workers in Plateau State have been on strike for several months, demanding the full implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage.

The state government had threatened to advertise the jobs of the council workers to the public.

The spokesperson of the group, Chuwang Ayuba, told journalists at the council secretariat that the unemployed youth in the state are ready to take over the jobs of workers who have declined to resume work as directed by the state government across the 17 Local Government Areas.

Meanwhile, the ultimatum issued by the organized Labour in the state for the government to either pay the striking workers their outstanding salaries or witness a total worker’s strike will officially end this Sunday. Should the threat not be called off, the state may be grounded from Monday as state workers, commercial drivers and so on are all expected to join.

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Mr. Ayuba, who pleaded with the state government to offer them the opportunity to serve, said those of them who are not on the pay roll of any tier of government have been suffering for a long period of time and could barely afford a square meal a day, while those who take salaries without doing any ‘tedious work’ still press for increments.

“It seems as if Nigeria belongs to certain group of people who take so much from the revenue of the country without considering some of us who are unemployed. I want you to know that we are always affected when there is a slide shift of inflation without any source of income to cushion the effects on us.

“The civil servants go on strike to demand for increment, people in the political offices also demand increment but for some of us, where do we go to demand for increment nowhere. Once there is any salary increment, it resulted to hike in prize of food stuff in the market and we are left at the mercy of God,” he said.

When asked whether they were in the secretariat because they heard of job vacancies, Mr. Ayuba said “most of us have been coming to the secretariat since the inception of democracy in 1999, seeking for

employment, most of the Council Chairmen knew me personally and likewise some of my colleagues who are here. With or without advertisement, all we need is give us work.”

He claimed that less than one million of Plateau’s 3.5 million population are employed; and they are the ones enjoying more than half of the revenue that accrues to the state.

“Yet they are asking for more,” he said. “We are ready to be employed and take the present salaries they are rejecting.”

Commenting on the matter, the Management Committee Chairman of Jos South council, Peter Dung, said a five-man committee had been constituted, headed by Dalyop Lowang, to screen and employ new workers to fill the vacant position of the striking workers who declined government’s directive to resume work.

Mr. Dung noted that government had given a November 19 ultimatum for workers to resume work, adding that only 62 per cent of workers resumed and their salaries for October have been paid. He said modalities have also been put in place to pay their November salary.

“There is a register for those who come for work and anybody whose name is not on our register is no longer our staff,” he said.

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