Kaduna — About 1,050 workers of the four closed textile plants in Kaduna State have died while waiting for their gratuity and other entitlements, following the closure of their textile firms in 2002.
The Coalition of Closed Textile Plants Workers described the situation as worrisome and blamed government's negligence towards the revival and sustainability of a sector that employs thousands of workers and boosts the economic activities of the state.
The leader of the coalition, Ishar Iorngulum, stated this at a peaceful demonstration staged by the worried workers in Kaduna yesterday.
The coalition also alleged that the Federal Government was not concerned about the need to revitalise the closed textile plants.
They blamed the Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola, for not clarifying whether the Federal Government had budgeted fund for reviving the sector or not.
"We have suffered death, hunger, and become urban beggars in our own communities, while most of our leaders continue to think on how to build mansions, building their bank accounts and riding in flashy cars, instead of thinking of how to develop the country. It is regrettable that the management of those closed textiles continue to distance themselves from the workers' by not even coming out with any policy statement on how they will pay workers salaries and gratuity and reopen the companies, when in actual fact some of them contributed to the closure of the companies".
The affected staff appealed to the National Assembly, the Northern Governors Forum and religious cum traditional rulers to, as a matter of urgency, intervene so that their financial entitlements could be settled, considering the harsh economic hardship they are experiencing currently.
They said, "We are asking for the release of the N100 billion Textile Intervention Fund. It is not a privilege but a right for any government to release and assist its companies for the growth of it economy and development of its citizens".