Issues 14-day ultimatum for reversal
BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened a “total shutdown of the country’s economy” if the Federal Government fails to reverse the recent hike in fuel price and electricity tariffs in the next 14 days.
According to the NLC, hard-pressed and disillusioned Nigerians will have no choice but to shut the country down in protest of government’s insensitivity to their worsening welfare and sufferings.
The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, told newsmen at the end of the body’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday that government has 14-days to make things right.
He said workers and Nigerians are generally disappointment that government decided to increase the cost of both items in the face of harsh economic realities globally.
“The hike is one decision that is biting every worker and every family. I think it is a decision that certainly requires reversion,” Wabba noted.
Wabba said; “We are surprised that at a time other countries across the world are giving palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of COVID-19, Nigerians are asked to pay more for fuel and electricity.”
He said in focusing on the twin challenges, the NLC noted that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has given Nigerians enough suffering and government must therefore not add to the people’s woes at this time.
The Labour helmsman said; “A hike, as announced by government, has reduced the purchasing power of Nigerians and Nigerian workers. It has also brought about a high cost of goods and services which has completely eroded the gains of the N30,000 minimum wage.
“The CWC and the National Executive Council (NEC) also took reports of the meeting that took place between the Federal Government and organised labour where NLC was represented by 14 of its leaders.
“After examining the outcome of the meeting, we resolved to issue a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the fuel price hike or face industrial action.”
Explaining the NLC’s stand, Wabba said; “In furtherance to this, the CWC also resolved to convene a meeting of the NEC in line with our constitution, on Sept. 22, 2020.
“This is to also give effect to the decision because the proposed action will commence on Monday, September 28, 2020 `if the issues are not addressed.”
He said failure by government to reverse itself would see Labour mobilising its teeming members, civil society allies and other social partners to resist the policies that have driven many families and individuals into abject poverty.
Wabba said in sharing their experiences arising from the exploitative nature of recent policies of government, the CWC members noted the declining economic power among many Nigerians and insisted that even the N30,000 minimum wage would not actually pay for electricity in many homes.
He stated that; “The experience we have here is that somebody actually loaded a credit of N30,000 and it could not take him two weeks. That is the general experience all over the country.”