AFTER an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council, NEC, held on Sunday, the
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, announced the
suspension of its nationwide strike against the
hike in both the pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariff, and said it was resuming negotiations with the federal government.
This was contained in a communiqué jointly signed by the NLC president, Comrade Ayuba
Wabba and the general secretary, Dr, Peter Ozo-
Eson, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the federal government on May 11 announced the increase in the price of petrol from N86.50 to N145, reflecting 67.6 percent increase, triggering the anger of the organised labour which maintained that
the federal government was
insensitive.
The factional NLC led by
Comrade Joe Ajaero and the Trade
Union Congress, TUC, had earlier
pulled out of the nationwide
strike which rendered the protest
ineffective.
“NEC reviewed the protest
action and its impact across
the nation, noting the sacrifices
of its members, response of
the generality of Nigerians,
government’s attitude and the
brutality of the police in some
states. NEC took special notice of
the Ebonyi State Police Command
where our members were
intimidated, harassed, arrested
and detained unjustly.
“After an exhaustive
deliberation, NEC noted its
protest action was informed by
the twin issues of the unjustified
and illegal hike in electricity tariff
and increase in the pump price
of petroleum products. NEC
adjudged the protest action to be
a success in spite of both internal
and external challenges.
Part of the communiqué read
that; “NEC reiterated the correctness
of its position on the twinissues
of electricity tariff hike
and astronomical increase in
the pump price of PMS and
the hardship they portend for
Nigerian masses.
“NEC also acknowledged that
the temptation to compare the
strike action with that of 2012
could be compelling but that the
scenario had changed as both
the actors and the terrain were
different.
“NEC said before it had
embarked on the action, it had
anticipated a probable outcome
and therefore was not surprised
by government’s negative
response. Nonetheless, it felt
fulfilled by having the presence of
mind and courage to identify its
mission and fulfilling it, stressing
that if a similar situation arises
again, it will still rise and stand
with the people.
“NEC therefore commended
those who took part in the action
in one way or the other and
reaffirm its commitment to the
struggle. The action, it reiterated
was taken in the best interest of
the poor and the weak and in
drawing government’s attention
to the dangers of relying on
importation of petroleum
products as a sustainable
strategy for making available
petroleum products. It expressed
the belief that in the days ahead,
time would prove its position
right.
“Congress singled out for
commendation, its state councils,
affiliates and other patriotic
Nigerians who at very short notice
picked up the gauntlet for this
struggle. Congress commends
the leadership of the National
Assembly and All Progressives
Congress led by Senator Ahmed
Bola Tinubu.
“NEC after due consultation
with its constituents resolved to
suspend with immediate effect,
the action it commenced on
Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The
action is thus hereby suspended.
“Congress will resume
negotiations with government
on the twin issues of the hike in
electricity tariff and an increase
in the pump price of petroleum
products and any other issue that
may arise thereof.
“It similarly remains committed
to genuine dialogue within the
framework of internationally
established and recognized
principles of representation.
“The congress will continue
to resist wrong legislations,
policies and programmes and
will always act in the best interest
of Nigerians as it remains the
only pan Nigerian organisation
not affected by religion, region,
creed, partisanship or primordial
sentiments.
“The congress urges the
government to play by the
rules in its engagement with its
constituent parts, stakeholders
and non-state actors as proof of
its commitment to deepening
our democracy and also in
acknowledgment of the wellworn
credo that what goes
around, comes around.
“The congress also urges the
citizenry to be vigilant at all times
as the price of freedom is eternal
vigilance.
“The congress commends all
Nigerians for their understating
and support,” the statement
reads.
Answering questions from
newsmen, however, Wabba
revealed that NLC called off the
strike because some prominent
Nigerians had dialogued with the
union and implored it to drop the
strike while a balanced would be
reached through dialogue.


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