Organised labour, under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said it was still weighing the situation in the aftermath of the petrol price increment. NLC said it would not hesitate to take all necessary actions within the ambit of the law to protect the interest of Nigerian workers and the masses.
NLC disclosed that as part of moves to galvanise action against the government policy, the union would hold an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting Friday in Abuja, to decide on appropriate steps to take over the massive increase in fuel price.
NLC said it would hold an emergency NEC meeting today in Abuja to decide on appropriate steps to take over the massive increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). It called on the federal government to obey the 2023 Appropriation Act and call NNPC to order.
In a statement, NLC said Nigerians from all walks of life, including civil society organisations, had continued to visit the Labour House in Abuja, to show solidarity with the congress and support its position against the petroleum products price hike by the federal government and to demand that necessary action be taken with their support to ensure that the federal government reverses the decision to withdraw petroleum subsidy.
In Edo State, Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO), yesterday, blocked a section of the busy Benin/Lagos highway in protest against the increase in petrol pump price. The protest, which also took place at different locations in the state, obstructed vehicular movement.
However, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) called on the federal government not to be distracted by the tricks of those it described as discredited self-serving labour leaders and unscrupulous oil marketers who would seize every opportunity to undermine government’s good intentions.
But global human rights body, Amnesty International, advised that the removal of fuel subsidy must not exacerbate poverty in the country.
The union said a delegation of Northern Women Assembly (NOWA), led by its National President, Alhaja Aisha Hassaini, and Miyetti Allah Peace Initiative, led by its National President, Hon. Yusuf Musa Ardo, were at the headquarters of NLC yesterday, to register their displeasure the sudden increase in the prices of petroleum products by the federal government.
It said the northern women group expressed dissatisfaction with the hardship and increased suffering, which the petroleum price hike had foisted on their members across the north. The women urged the labour movement to immediately take steps to get the government to revert to the old pump price.
It said, “The women insisted on mobilising their members towards any action that may become necessary to make sure that the government does the right thing for Nigerian women, stating that women bear the greatest brunt of every bad policy of the government.”
NLC said Miyetti Allah Peace Initiative brought a petition from members demanding the protection of NLC against anti poor policies of the government. It said the association lamented the huge burden, which the petroleum price hike had already foisted on their members, adding that they are afraid of what the future portends if this is allowed to stand.
NLC president, Joe Ajaero, said the union had assured all those that visited the congress since Tuesday of its continued commitment to taking all necessary measures within the law to protect the interest of Nigerian workers and masses, no matter the quantum of opposition.
Ajaero stated, “Any act of impunity encourages lawlessness and leads to serious breach of trust and reduces citizenship belief in leadership. These are basic ingredients needed by the government to govern, which it seems to be in a hurry to defile. Citizens connect is critical for the survival of any government.
“The on-going dialogue with the government may be imperilled if the insistence continues, especially when it seems that there is a clear, deliberate and wilful breach of the law by those who are supposed to be its custodians.
“As the pressure continues to mount from the outcry of the citizenry for a quick mitigation of the increasing hardship, which this has become for Nigerians, we are worried that patience may run thin and may snap, leading to actions that may no longer be controlled.
“We, therefore, call on the government to obey the 2023 Appropriation Act and call the NNPC to order.
“Encouraging local refining of our crude to meet domestic demand is the surest way to resolve the subsidy impasse and stave off its negative consequences on the nation.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, at plenary yesterday, stated that with the petroleum subsidy removal, the federal government should forthwith suspend all Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) contracts. The House said NNPC should act according to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in order to ensure that the country was not short-changed in production, lifting, and sale of crude.
The House also said while the federal government should out rightly remove subsidy on all petroleum products, it should immediately design measures and palliatives to cushion the effects of the removal for Nigerians effective from this year, through the provision and procurement of CNG Buses as an alternative transport system with cheaper fuel consumption.