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NLC warns NASS against devolving labour issues to states, removal from Exclusive List



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the National Assembly against devolving labour issues to the states amidst plans to remove it from the Exclusive Legislative List.

Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, issued this caution in Abuja on Tuesday through a statement titled “Labour on the Legislative Exclusive List.”

He noted that labour issues were presently domiciled in the Second Schedule, Legislative Powers, Part 1, Exclusive list, Item 34.

Wabba reiterated that national interest was paramount therefore, the labour should remain within the purview of the NASS.

”For the sake of our national interest, security and industrial harmony, labour should not be one of the items that should be devolved to the states,” he said.

Wabba also noted that the nation-states legislation on Labour drives substantially from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, protocols and recommendations and other instruments domesticated through the Acts of parliament.

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“As a result, Nigeria ratified the ILO Conventions 87 and 98, guaranteeing the right to organise and collectively bargain, after independence in 1960.

“Nigeria had since adopted all the core conventions in its capacity as a sovereign nation and regularly attends ILO organ meetings as a sovereign in line with international best practices.

”In the light of this, deregulating labour to the states will inevitably create intractable problems. At the membership level, the 36 states of the federation and FCT are no sovereign which is a basis for ILO membership of Nigeria.

”Secondly, a corpus of labour legislation across the 36 states and FCT will almost certainly create a judicial nightmare.

”Thirdly, investors will be scared away as they will consider this as an unnecessary addition to the already hostile operating environment. At the level of workers who often act in the national interest, this will whittle down patriotic influence.

”In the light of this, we will strongly advocate against removing labour from the Exclusive Legislative List. Not even during the military era was this contemplated,” Wabba said.

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