Enugu Govt. says coal mines resuscitation will boost nation’s revenue
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has said that the resuscitation of coal mines in Enugu will be a major revenue resource and a catalyst for socio-economic development of the country.
Ugwuanyi said this on Saturday in Enugu while receiving the executives of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) who came to the state for a solidarity rally.
The rally was to commemorate the anniversary of the slaying of 21 workers by colonial government on Nov. 18, 1949, when they agitated for better working conditions at the Iva-Valley Coal Mine in Enugu.
The governor said that with the diversification as the new national mantra due to the negative developments in the oil sector, the coal mines of Enugu would be restored.
“I believe that coal would once again become a major revenue resource for the country and a catalyst for socio-economic development.
“Indeed, it is sad to observe that the coal mines where it all started, which provided our heroes the platform to stand in exceptional gallantry, to say no to injustice and oppression and from where the former mainstay of the national economy was produced, have all been abandoned,’’ he said.
Ugwuanyi was represented at the occasion by the Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Emeka Okeke.
He urged workers to use the commemoration of the coal miners’ sacrifice made 67 years ago to work diligently to preserve and promote the ideals they fought for in the country.
Earlier, NLC’s Head of Industrial Relations and Organising Department, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboajah, noted that it was on the account of the history that Enugu held a special place in the annals of trade unionism in Nigeria.
“It is instructive that our coming here is to commemorate that shedding of blood for workers to be emancipated and have decent lives.
“Enugu State is also receiving a solid accolade as one of the three states that is regular in taking care of basic responsibilities such payment of salaries and sundry workers’ issues.
“So it was refreshingly heartwarming for us that the labours of our heroes past are not in vain particularly in Enugu State,” Ugboajah, who represented the national president of NLC, said.
He added that it was ironic that states that were better endowed were defaulting in their obligation to workers’ salaries.
“We still say kudos to the governor and urge him not to drop his cards and to keep the flag flying,’’ he said.