BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG & FAVOUR NWABOWU, Lagos
ORGANISED labour and its civil society allies, yesterday advised Nigerians to use today and tomorrow to restock and re-energise for the next phase of the nationwide strike and mass protest to force the Federal Government to revert the pump price of Petrol to pre-January 1, 2012 price of N65 per litre.
Under the umbrella of Labour and Civil Society Coalition, LASCO, the group said unless the government between now and Sunday, reverted to the old price, the second phase of the strike, would commence on Monday, January 16, with greater fury.
In a joint statement by Acting General Secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Comrade Owei Lakemfa and Chief John Kolawole, respectively, on behalf of LASCO, commended Nigerians for turning out in their millions since Monday January 9, 2012, to protest the astronomical increase in the price of PMS (Petrol), saying their resolute stand and insistence in struggling for a better country.
According to the statement “The Labour Movement and its civil society allies after nationwide consultations has decided that this weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January, 2012, will be observed as strike, protest and rally-free days. We ask Nigerians to utilize these days to rest, restock and get re-energized for the continuation of the strikes, rallies and protests from Monday 16th January, 2012.”
Discussions with Government
“The NLC, TUC and their allies in the Civil Society Movement on Thursday 12th January, 2012 met with the Senate leadership, Nigeria Governors Forum and the Executive Arm.
At the meeting, Labour asked the Presidency to suspend the new petrol (PMS) price increases announced on January 1, 2012. In return, we offered to suspend forthwith, the strikes, mass rallies and street protests. We also suggested that an expanded committee be set up which would discuss the fuel subsidy issue and pricing for petrol.
The Government side presented a counter proposal asking Labour to negotiate new fuel prices. Since we had no such mandate, Labour declined and decided to return to its National Executive Council meetings which will be held on Saturday 14th January, 2012 for a possible expanded mandate.”