The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins has called on governments at all levels in Nigeria, to prioritize issues on workers’ welfare in their policies and programmes, bearing as he noted that a motivated workforce is required for the realization of government goals and objectives. Archbishop Martins made the call during Mass for St. Joseph the Worker and the blessing of St. Joseph Grotto, in commemoration of the 2021 Workers’ Day, held at Marian Shrine, Maryland, Lagos. While noting that Nigerian workers are challenged by so many factors, including poor remuneration, Archbishop Martins said that with improved welfare, employees would be more diligent and upright, and this would put a check on sharp practices, laziness and laxity in the civil service. The Archbishop also emphasised that workers play central and strategic roles in the realization of all government goals, hence the need to constantly enhance their living conditions, as motivation for them to put in their best in their duties. Archbishop Martins who enjoined workers to emulate Saint Joseph by being more dedicated and accountable, also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, restore peace in the country.
The Archbishop disclosed that as part of activities to celebrate the Year of Saint Joseph, the model for workers, the Grotto of the saint is being erected in Lekki, Badagry, Maryland, among other provinces in Lagos. He encouraged workers to take advantage of Saint Joseph’s Grotto, to pray and draw strength, to carry on in their duties. In his homily, titled “Uniting workers for social and economic advancement”, the Very Rev. Fr. Ethelbert Arua, advised workers to appreciate the fact that they have something doing, and to put in their best towards the realization of their Organisations’ goals, and that of the nation at large. Fr. Arua stated that for a vibrant and progressive workforce, government at all levels, should enthrone meritocracy over nepotism, in their employments, as well as stop casualization of workers, pay better wages to workers, and tackle insecurity. In his address, Mr. Paul Mary Williams, acting National President, Young Christian Workers Movement of Nigeria (YCWN), urged members of the Association to work diligently, meritoriously, and live above board, like their Patron, Saint Joseph.
On her part, the YCW Lagos Archdiocesan President, Mrs. Ijeoma Ayaborsi said that the Workers’ Day celebration means a lot to young workers, as it gives them the opportunity to celebrate, as well as reflect on their work life. In the course of the celebration, Archbishop Martins prayed for workers, fathers , mothers, as well as retirees, who took turns to offer thanksgivings to God, for sparing their lives to witness another workers Day. Marking of International Workers’ Day has become an annual ritual by the Young Christian Workers Movement of Nigeria. Members from the various deaneries in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos participated in recreational activities, such as march past, cultural displays among others. This year’s event which is the 17th edition was considered unique and special, because the Catholic Church designated 2021 as the year of St. Joseph, who is known by the Church as the Patron Saint of workers. In view of that, a grotto in respect of St. Joseph, was blessed on the occasion, at the Marian Shrine, Maryland, marking the commencement of the special Mass for the young workers in the