The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted that it would proceed with its planned nationwide protest with effect from Sept. 28 over Federal Government refusal to reverse the hikes in electricity tariff and fuel pump price.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said this while addressing newsmen at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the NLC on Tuesday in Abuja. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NLC’s Central Working Committee (CWC) on Sept. 17 had issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and pump price of petrol or workers would embark on a nationwide protest on Sept. 28.
According to Wabba, the NEC after its extensive deliberations resolved to reject the hike in electricity tariff by almost 100 per cent and also reject the fuel price increase in the name of deregulation.
“This decision, alongside other decisions of the government including the increase of VAT by 7.5 per cent, other numerous charges by commercial banks on depositors, without any explanation will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizenry, including their families. “Therefore, this is coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is not only “ill-timed’’, but it is also counterproductive,” he said.
He said that NEC also observed that the privatisation process that was done seven years ago had not yielded any positive result and that the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion. He also noted that the Federal Government within the last four years has injected N1.53 trillion over and above the amount that was used to sell those important assets. “Therefore, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatisation process has failed and the electricity hike is a continuous process of exploitation of Nigerians,” he said.
Earlier, the TUC Chairman in Lagos State, Mr. Gbenga Ekundayo, told NAN on Tuesday, it has postponed its mass protest from 23rd to 28 September. He said the postponement was for a unified protest with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The union leader said the federal government and organised labour were yet to reach an agreement on the new prices of electricity and petrol. “TUC’s ultimatum ended today, NLC’s ultimatum will end on September 28. Those are two ultimatums, and the labour movement should not work that way. We have to harmonise our moves together. “At the national level, it was agreed that we collapse together, instead of starting something now and another joining. It was agreed that we all wait till September 28,” he said.