Workers in the Banking and insurance industry, under the aegis of the Association of Senior Staff for Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) on Saturday challenged the recent persistent information by the Federal Government on the buoyancy of the nation’s economy.
Marching through the streets of Lagos , the workers said so far all the claims by President Muhammad Buhari’s administration was statistics and not factual or physical as Nigerians, the workers and most especially the financial institutions are yet to recover from the recession.
As early as 8.30 in the morning, the workers carrying the union’s flags and their organisations handbills had converged under the Ikeja bridge and marched through Awolowo Way, Allen Avenue, Alausa secretariat and finally terminated at the union secretariat around Alausa.
The National President of the Association comrade Oyinkan Olasanoye, who led the Sensitisation Walk organised as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Union, said the event was specifically to draw the attention of the government, employers and other stakeholders to the plight of the workers in the sector and Nigeria at large.
Olasanoye said the leadership of the Union want the Buhari administration to do all within its power to make recession a thing of the past in the country.
“So far the claim that we are out of recession as government is mere statistics, but in our education, our health, physical provisions at home we all know we are still battling with recession.
“The financial institutions are the drivers of the economy as a rest of that, whatever happens to the economy affects us directly. Everybody knows that government is the highest spender, but for some years now, this has reduced, coupled with the TSA. As if that is not enough the three tiers new policy in the insurance sector simply demands that they must increase in capitalisation. But unfortunately, we are in the election year and many investors are not investing.
“Hence until government starts spending, we will still continue to face the economy crisis. Even if we want to agree with the government that there is no recession, the effects of the recession is still in the market place”, she said
The ASSBIFI president noted that in the past forty years, the union has fought for the rights of the workers, and ensure that no member is laid off without due compensation.
“We want Nigerians to know that casualisation and contract staff prevalent in our sector will no longer be tolerated. A worker either casual or full staff is entitled to freely exercise his or her rights to belong to the union and this we are out to ensure”, she said.
The Chairman of the 40th anniversary who is also the Vice President of the Union, Amina Danesi said the celebration was a landmark in the history of the Union.
Danesi, who is also the President of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) branch said ASSBIFI deserved the celebration, recalling several achievements cut across investments and the ability to resolve a decade crisis.
She emphasised that over the past 40 years, the union has gone through thick and thin and decided to embark on the Walk to equally sensitize Nigerians on the reasons why union is important in the workplaces.
“There is this general belief that there is no union representing financial workers, so our walk and this peaceful march is to correct that impression and to let Nigerians and other workers in the sector know that ASSBIFI exists”, she said.
According to her, the programme for the celebration of the 40th anniversary actually commenced on May 1, and so far other activities had included training organised for the Youth wing last month and the Walk.
“There would be more interaction with the Press in September, October, we will have Decent Work Day and the grand finale will be in November”, she said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has tasked members of the Union to sensitize other members of the public on the way to use the roads and avoid accidents on the roads.
Representing the Unit commander of the Ikeja, Assistant Corp commander Emma Efekoya, Head of Operation, Olajumoke Oddi said ASSIBIFI members should support the efforts of the FRSC and sensitize others in the use of pedestrian bridges, phones, proper way to walk on the roads with children and other important things
“It is important for our people to know that you don’t use children to shield traffic, they must be protected. We must all be aware that road safety affair is everybody responsibility “, she said.