The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) seems set for a showdown with the Federal Government as they have rejected its planned enforcement of Covid-19 vaccination on workers and Nigerians. This is coming at a time some state governments and stakeholders had already opposed the federal government’s compulsory vaccination plan.
The position of Labour was made known by the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, while unveiling the Covid-19 vaccination Advisory for the Federal Civil Servants on Monday in Abuja.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Wabba said though the efficacy of vaccines for the control of Covid-19 had been scientifically proven, the federal government should use the tool of persuasion rather than force to get workers and the general public to take it.
What the NLC President is saying about compulsory Covid-19 vaccination
Wabba said, ”I urge workers all over the world to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and keep themselves, their families and their colleagues at work safe and free from the morbid threats of the Corona pandemic.
“We urge government and other employers of labour to make special arrangement for workers to access the vaccine at the workplace. We urge that the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than force to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccine.’’
Wabba however noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had brought some of the biggest strains, stress and squeeze to the workplace, adding that thousands of workers had died from the disease. He noted also that the pandemic had claimed the lives of over 180,000 health workers globally.
He said, “The high rate of fatality is unfortunate but also highlights the sacrifice that workers have made in combating and containing this deadly virus. Many more workers have lost their jobs and means of livelihood to COVID-19.’’
The NLC president said the biggest lesson of the pandemic was that amidst the worst crisis, the human race could rise to the challenge with great resourcefulness and resilience, adding that science had raised the bar a little higher with the breakthrough discovery of vaccine for Covid-19, which had helped reduce death rate and hospital admissions.
He said, “There was also a 63 per cent drop in hospital admissions post-vaccination and 66 per cent drop in mortality for those aged 18 – 49 after the vaccination.
“I understand some people prefer to view COVID-19 vaccination with caution. Yes, it is important to proceed on issues of public health with great caution.
“Yet, it would be foolhardy to elevate caution above scientific evidence and facts from public health records.”
What you should know
Recall that on August 31, 2021, the Federal Government announced the ongoing plans to sanction citizens who refuse to take the Covid-19 vaccine once they have been made available to all Nigerians including federal civil servants and corporate entities.
The government said it would enforce Covid-19 vaccination amongst its workers effective from December 1.