The Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, have commended members of the House of Representatives over the motion in the House, demanding that the federal government suspends its decision on the removal of fuel subsidy, leading to over 120 per cent increase in the price of PMS (petrol).
In a joint statement, by NLC’s Acting General Secretary and Secretary General of TUC, Comrade Owei Lakemfa and Chief John Kolawole respectively, the two labour bodies said they hoped President Jonathan would listen to the voice of the Nigerian people which the motion further ventilated by immediately suspending the fuel price hikes and allowing dialogue and consultation on the issue of fuel subsidy removal.
They, however, declared that the strike must go on as scheduled until President Jonathan revert to pre-January 1, 2012 Price of Petrol.
According to the statement: “The Labour Movement and its allies highly commend the Federal House of Representatives for its patriotic motion demanding that the Jonathan administration immediately suspends the astronomical increasing in the price of PMS (petrol).
This motion if adopted by the Executive will immediately douse the explosive tension in the country and restore it to its pre-January 1, 2012 normalcy. We commend the House and its exemplary leadership for rising to the demands of the times, and in a bipartisan manner, seeking to steer the country away from a path that may have disastrous consequences.”
“The House of Representatives displayed exemplary leadership in not just cutting short its break, but also meeting on a Sunday. If other arms of governance work with the exemplary speed, seriousness, sensitivity and patriotic zeal as the House of Representatives did today; our country would be a far better place to live.
The Labour Movement called on the Senate to also rise up to the expectations of Nigerians by concurring with the House motion. We hope and pray that President Goodluck Jonathan will listen to the loud voice of the Nigerian people which this motion has further ventilated by immediately suspending the fuel price hikes and allowing dialogue and consultation on the issue of fuel subsidy removal.”
The Strike and Protests must go on
On today’s industrial action, the statement said “The Labour Movement reiterates that the indefinite strikes, rallies and mass protests will commence across the country tomorrow Monday 9th January 2012. We ask Nigerians to disregard the disinformation by the Jonathan administration and its surrogates claiming that Labour has had a rethink on the strike. We reiterate that the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental one which no institution or force can abridge.”
“The Labour Movement commends Nigerians in the diaspora for their support and continued protests. We also commend the Nigerians in the United States who plan to protest tomorrow morning against the fuel price hikes in front of the World Bank headquarters in Washington.
The Breton Wood Institutions which include the IMF and the World Bank will not be allowed to dictate anti-people policies such as fuel subsidy removal to the Nigerians.”
Earlier at a briefing in Lagos, organised labour and its civil society allies yesterday insisted that the nationwide strike and mass protest to force President Goodluck Jonathan revert the price of Petrol to the old price of N65 per litre must go on today as scheduled, saying the President had declared war on Nigerian people and Nigerian must fight back.
Labour leaders and their allies in the civil society, Under the umbrella of the Labour and Civil Society Coalition, LASCO, declared that the strike would be total as all critical sectors of the economy such as Aviation, Petroleum, Power, banking, Maritime and among others sectors would be shut down.
Speaking, Deputy President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said President Jonathan had foreclosed any dialogue by declaring that there was no going back on the hike in the pump price of Petrol.
Comrade Ajaero who is also the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, argued that nothing had changed; lamenting that President Jonathan’s Broadcast on Saturday night had worsened the situation on ground as he announced more austerity measures to further punish the Nigerian people to please the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
According to him, “the President’s speech added more injuries to an already painful situation. We call on patriotic Nigerians to come out en-mass and resist this anti-people policy of government.
The President’s speech is nothing short of austerity measures. The reversal of fuel price is non-negotiable. Since the president has said there is no going back on his policy, it is now a question of whether power resides with the president or the people. We have reemphasized that the strike will go on as scheduled and will be total.