Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, on Thursday renamed a hall initially named after him, to “Peace Hall’’, in memory of slain Yobe school children.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 43 children of the Federal Government College, Burni Yadi, Yobe, were killed by members of the Boko Haram Sect on Feb. 25.
NAN further reports that the renamed hall was constructed by the Lagos Zonal Council of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), located at Fadeyi in Lagos.
Fashola said at the inauguration of the hall earlier named after him by NUPENG that he changed the name to honour the slain secondary school students.
“I appreciate NUPENG’s gesture but I will rename this edifice `Peace Hall`, in memory of the lives of the children that were brutally slain in Yobe by insurgents.
“The Children will soon be forgotten but as a reminder to us and the need to stand up for what is right, I ask that the hall be re-named as NUPENG’s Peace Hall, as we all search for peace across Nigeria,’’ Fashola said.
The governor described the Yobe incident as a moment of mixed feelings, when many parents were mourning the loss of their children.
“While we pray for the repose of the souls of these young ones, it is also a moment we must stand up as a nation.
“Whatever language you speak, whatever faith you practise, whatever ethnic/tribe you claim, this is the time it will not show.
“No matter how diverse we are, we are still one people, this is a time when colours and flag do not matter and political ideologies mean nothing.
“This is the time we must show and respect the values of the lives of fellow Nigerians’’ he said.
Speaking on incessant strikes in the country, Fashola urged NUPENG to ensure that due processes were followed before embarking on the actions.
“Most times, some workers do not even know the reason why they are called out on strike.
“Many a times, it is only the executives that decide to embark on strikes,’’ he said.
According to him, there is need for a voting process where a majority of the members must agree and must be sent to the management.
“My message is that at the end of the day, strikes do not pay; the people or the unions do not gain. We must all look for a win-win solution,’’ he said.
He, however, urged the union to champion the cause where petroleum products could be moved by rail, noting that the future of the oil and gas sector should not be about tankers and parking space, but using rail as a mode of transport.
“No nation can have good roads with the tonnage of petroleum products being moved daily by tankers.
“I know that one day it will be possible for us to move our petroleum products by rail wagons as it was done 40 years ago,’’ he said.
NUPENG President, Mr Igwe Achese, said that insecurity in Nigeria especially in the North-East was a cause for concern.
“We find the Boko Haram menace unacceptable and call on the new security chiefs to braze up for action to put the insurgency in check,’’ he said.
Achese also condemned the issue of continued `outsourcing` of Nigerian workers, stressing that this had become a cancer, especially in the oil and gas sector.
“The union has threatened to call its members on a nationwide strike, without notice, if industrial relations issues on outsourcing and negotiation for our members are not addressed in the multinational oil companies,’’ he said.
On the vandalism of pipelines, the president reiterated the need for the establishment of a “Pipeline Protection Agency“ to be well funded to tackle the problem.
Earlier in his welcome address, the NUPENG Lagos Zonal Chairman, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, commended the state government for its intervention in ensuring that the union got its own edifice.
“Let us put it on permanent record that we would not have had this kind of design with its extra-ordinary finishing if not for the special support and the kind gestures of Fashola,’’ Korodo added. (NAN)