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Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday decried what he called the persistent and frightening economic decimation of the Nigerian working class in the face of economic hardship and poor living conditions.

In his 2021 May Day solidarity message to Nigerian workers, Atiku said the conditions of the Nigerian workers are worrisome considering the socio-economic climate pervading the land.

In a message issued by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, the former Vice said “even what we call basic food items are unaffordable and we are in a situation where the price of a bag of rice is nearly at par with the value of our minimum wage.”

The message read in part: “The increase in the national minimum wage has been matched or neutralised by astronomical inflation that is accelerating at a breathtaking rate almost daily. Even the locally produced foods are prohibitively expensive.

“The Nigerian workers have never had it so bad. The impacts of the lockdown and worsening inflation have taken their heaviest toll on the working class. The situation is so bad that they are now living from hands to mouth.”

According to him, “this situation will only create favourable conditions for corruption and aggravate depression and mental health problems among civil servants.

“Let me be clear: these challenges of economic survival are not limited to the civil servants alone. They affect the working class at all levels, including artisans and other low-income groups that are struggling desperately to put food on the table in the face of declining incomes and rising inflation.

“The extravagant lifestyles of elected officials while poverty is decimating the people are a demonstration of insensitivity. We can’t tell ordinary people to make sacrifices while elected officials are reluctant to take the lead in making those sacrifices. Elected and appointed officials must at all levels cut down on their extravagant expenditures at the expense of the people.

“Despite these challenges, however, let us not lose hope in our country. Nigeria is bigger than those who preside over our affairs. We have more common interests that unite us than things that divide us. Let us not allow anyone to use us as fighting tools while they are busy protecting their own interests,” the former Vice President advised Nigerians.

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