STATEMENT at the Kickoff
1. The Joint Action Front (JAF) effective from today 27th March DECLARES its solidarity with all categories of unemployed Nigerians (who are more than 50 million across the country), the working and oppressed people of Nigerians to demand the rights to jobs and employment opportunities for ALL Nigerians irrespective of sex, ethnic or religious background.
2. Our position in JAF on the tragic incident of the death of scores of applicants during the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) job recruitment exercises of March 15th 2014 is that, Governments at all levels (FG, State & local), irrespective of political parties, are culpable because they failed to provide decent jobs and enabling opportunities for gainful employments. All the Governments in the country are subscribed to the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist agenda, which create the conditions for unemployment, closure of industries, dependence of imported products including fuel, job insecurity, under-employment, cheap and slave labour, casualisation, poor wages and anti-workers policies.
3. For instance, the privatization of electricity with the attendant outage and high tariffs, and the outrageous taxes imposed by both state and local governments, have made LIFE very difficult for artisans and small business owners and some of them have been forced out of business. The same anti-poor agenda accounts for the ban of Okada/ Achaba by state governments who do not create alternative decent jobs for the youths and unemployed, hence the increasing rate of the army of unemployed of about 2 million annually.
4. JAF wish to state that it is possible to create massive jobs with living wage for all Nigerians, given the fact that many critical sectors like education, health care, agriculture, housing, infrastructure, etc are short of adequate personnel and require massive expansion to meet the growing needs of the population. The crisis of unemployment in Nigeria is such that the decadent capitalist economic agenda of successive regimes cannot resolve. It is only a socialist transformation of the Nigerian polity that can guarantee such massive jobs and employment creating opportunities that would make it possible for ALL Nigerians to have access to education, healthcare, housing, infrastructure, industrialisation, energy, social welfare, etc
5. As we kickoff this MASS RALLY at the Nigeria Civil Service Union Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos, we should appeal to ALL Nigerians that this is a continuous exercise. Therefore, JAF calls on its Labour partners – Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, the Unemployed and all pro-oppressed and working people groups across the country to mobilise and organise MASS RALLIES effective from today to all the institutions of Governments at all levels (local, state and FG), including the State Houses of Assembly to demand Decent Jobs with Living Wage for All Unemployed Nigerians. The kickoff is our CLARION CALL to Nigerians to arise to the challenge of System Change; which to JAF means the socialist transformation of the polity.
6. JAF wishes to recommend to Nigerians an UNEMPLOYMENT CHARTER. We urge the working people, oppressed classes, artisans, traders, professionals and all groups genuinely committed to the socio-economic transformation of Nigeria to join forces with the Unemployed to make the following Unemployment Charter of Demands:
· Just compensation to the families of all dead and injured applicants at the NIS interviews on March 15th; and Refund of the N1,000 collected from all the applicants and compensation for expenses incurred for the interviews.
· Decent Work and Living Wage for ALL.
· Unemployment Benefits for ALL Unemployed.
· Reversal of the IMF and World Bank policies of privatisation, deregulation, commercialisation, monetisation, outsourcing, bail-out of collapsed private banks and interests with public fund, foreign debt enslavement, etc.
· Government should have business in the socio-economic and welfare NEEDS of Nigerians.
· Public ownership and democratic control of the economy.
DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN! FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!!
Dr. Oladipo Fashina Comrade Abiodun Aremu
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary