– Issues midnight of Tuesday, May 17, ultimatum for reversal to N86 per litre
Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, yesterday held crucial mobilisation meetings with various trade unions in Lagos and Abuja respectively, to put them on cue ahead of the planned nationwide indefinite strike action intended to force the Federal Government to revert to N86 pump price per litre of premium motor spirit, PMS.
The unions had following meetings on Friday, May 13, vowed total shutdown of the economy from 12 midnight on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, if the federal government fails to accede to their demands.
The federal government had on Wednesday, May 11, announced partial deregulation of the downstream sector and subsequently hiked the pump prices of petroleum products from N86 to a maximum of N145 per litre of PMS.
The labour unions, which met separately at first and then as a united front denounced the increase stressing that the decision did reflect the social-economic realities on ground and therefore demanded a reversal to the former pump price.
Also, the unions met with various sub-groups in Abuja and Lagos Saturday to ginger and mobilise them ahead of the planned indefinite strike action should the federal government fails to accede to their demands.
Dependable sources informed Nigerian Pilot Sunday that the leaderships of the key unions persuaded many affiliate trade groups to understand and identify with the general aspirations of Nigerians and Nigerian workers and jointly stop the evil policy of the federal government by preparing and supporting the call for mass action against the government.
Accordingly, the leaderships of the unions broke into groups and will launch the mass campaign in the six geopolitical zones and the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT commencing today through Tuesday when the unions hope to make good its threat to shutdown the nation.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, stated this in Abuja yesterday during a press briefing on the decisions reached at the emergency meeting of the National Executive Councils of Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs held on Friday, May 13, 2016.
He advised Nigerians to stock sufficient food items that will last for a while as the timeframe for the strike is unknown at the moment.
Wabba, described the FG’s unilateral increase in prices of petroleum products and neo-liberal policies as a betrayal of its electioneering promises and demands a revert to the old price regime in order to reduce the suffering of the people.
“During the electioneering campaign last year, the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, had promised that, if elected president, he would not remove fuel subsidy if there was any at all.
“After his election, President Muhammadu Buhari had maintained that there was no subsidy in the petroleum product price regime and that even if there was, he did not see how its removal would be beneficial to the ordinary Nigerian, noting that the slightest product price adjustment often leads to inflationary spiral and unimaginable suffering for the people.”
Notwithstanding the resolution of National Executive Councils of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to support the government on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry, Wabba said that the ultimatum to government was the collective resolution of the NECs of the various affiliate unions and civil society groups.
NLC has, therefore, put forward a number of conditions to Federal Government noting that failure to meet the conditions will not be in the interest of the government.
“Revert to the old price regime in order to reduce the suffering of the people and to consider this singular act of mindless pump price increase as a betrayal of trust;
“Revert to the pre-45 per cent electricity tariff increase, make meters available to consumers and stop estimated billing;
“Reconstitute the boards of PPPRA and NNPC without further delay and give them their statutory right to function alongside DPR in order to deepen the process of consultation, checks and balances in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry;
“Intensify the prosecution of all those involved in subsidy scams with a view to recovery and sanctioning of the culpable;
“Put in place enhanced local refining capacity within a specified period in place of endless importation as an enduring solution to the perennial problem of scarcity;
“Reverse the entire deregulation and privatisation process which foists on the nation, private individuals as drivers of the economy in contravention of the constitutional provision that says government shall be the driver of the economy and engage the organised labour in the process of negotiation on key policy issues;
“Wean itself from the overbearing influence of the neo-liberal elements in its fold who have not only staged a coup but are determined to make this government collapse even before the end of its four-year tenure;
“Uphold its electioneering promises to Nigerians instead of subjecting them to the vagaries of slavish policies such as full devaluation of the naira and total removal of subsidy as enunciated by the IMF and its agents in the system;
“In the event government fails to accede to these demands on or before 12 midnight on Tuesday, May17, 2016, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and their civil society allies resolve to commence the following actions with effect from Wednesday, May 18, 2016;
“Mobilise to the streets across the country, ordinary and helpless Nigerians to whom they owe the duty of protection;
“Shut down all banks, sea and airports, government and private offices as well as markets.
“Commence indefinite nationwide strike action.
“Fight/resist the machinations and cruelties of the neo-liberal forces in the government as part of the process of saving the government from itself and the generality of Nigerians from slavery.
The federal government was yet to react to labours demand as at the time of going to the press.
Meanwhile, following the hike, reports indicate yesterday that PMS was sold at prices ranging from N145 in Abuja, Lagos, to N190 in Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Maiduguri and N150 in Akue and Minna respectively.