The United Action Front of Civil Society, the umbrella platform for organised civil society on issues of governance and democracy, has declared support for the two-day warning strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The strike was declared to protest against the hardship in the country foisted on the masses through the removal of fuel subsidy as announced by President Bola Tinubu in his inaugural speech on May 29.
According to the organisation, the warning strike which is slated to begin today has become highly inevitable in light of the emerging realities which have clearly shown that the government is being deceptive and mercurial with its fuel subsidy removal regime, which has been characterized by flip-flopping and uncertainty.
In a statement signed by its head, National Coordinating Centre, Wale Okunniyi, the leadership of the organised civil society, decried what it called the mindless policies of the federal government, which have further pushed millions of households that were hitherto managing to cope with their meagre incomes, below poverty line.
“We are therefore, compelling our patriotic call on Nigerians in the public and private sectors to team up with the NLC in demanding the reversal of the asphyxiating policies being implemented unilaterally without justification or any concrete economic plan beyond making Nigerians to pay for the corrupt mismanagement of the subsidy scheme, which incidentally has been admitted by government itself.
“We also wish to reiterate that the so-called palliatives for the fuel subsidy removal being financed through a World Bank loan to be paid back with interest by the Nigerian people, is another device by the ruling class to further fleece the already pauperized masses of the country in continuation of the culture of profligacy through which the Buhari administration plunged Nigeria into debt being serviced by over 90% of the Nation’s revenue.
“Rather than further push Nigeria deeper into bankruptcy; considering the fact that our Foreign Reserve is currently below 4 billion dollars, which marks the worst downturn in the history of the country’s economy, the Tinubu regime should be demanding accountability from those who mismanaged the fuel importation regime and depleted Nigeria’s Foreign Reserve to an abysmal level.
“The Tinubu administration clearly has no reasonable justification for insisting on arbitrary fuel price hike when those who pilfered the national treasury in the name of subsidy payment are walking the streets of Nigeria free; with some of them still calling the shot in the present administration.
“We make bold to challenge the Tinubu government to demand accountability for the fraudulent fuel subsidy payments and wasteful debt servicing policy of the preceding Buhari administration if it genuinely wishes to be taken seriously by Nigerians.
“Again, it speaks to barefaced insincerity for the government to subject the citizens to harrowing hardship in the name of fuel subsidy removal and currency floating, which are all conceived in the desperation to extort innocent Nigerians in recouping the huge sums of revenues that have been wasted through poor policy and outright stealing by high profile individuals which should not be beyond being called to account and prosecuted, “ the statement read.
They further noted that with the N30,000 minimum wage, Nigerian workers who were grossly underpaid before the hike in fuel price can no longer cope with the harrowing hardship in the country. They added that millions of unemployed citizens across the states have now been grossly impoverished.
The leadership of the organisation urged the working class to comply with the NLC directive, while the masses of the Nigerian civil society demonstrate support for Labour by holding complimentary mass action to draw home their displeasure about the inhuman treatment of Nigerian citizens through sudden unilateral removal of fuel subsidy and the ill-conceived economic policies of government.