Petrol price, electricity tariff: NLC poised for showdown
Petrol Price, Electricity Tariff: NLC Poised For Showdown
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday issued a two-week ultimate to the federal government to reverse the decision on the recent hike in electricity tariff and the pump price of petrol.
The NLC and its affiliate members maintained that failure to heed their demands would leave them with no option than to paralyse every sector by embarking on an indefinite strike as well as mobilising its members nationwide for a protest after the September 28 deadline.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, in a communiqué read to journalists after the Central Working Committee meeting, which held in Abuja that lasted several hours, argued that the hike has rendered the new minimum wage of N30, 000 worthless owing to rising inflation across the country.
“The National Administrative Council as well as the Central Working Committee of the NLC has just ended its meeting.
“The meeting was convened to look at the twin issue of the hike in electricity tariff and also the fuel price increase.
“The CWC has noted that these twins increase despite the fact that is ill-timed because of COVID-19 is also bad because of the socio-economic situation of the country,” Wabba said.
He added, “The CWC also identified the fact that the policy has reduced the purchasing power of Nigerians as well as Nigerian workers.
“Also, it has brought about the high cost of goods and services, and importantly, has eroded completely the gains of the N30, 000 minimum wage.
“The CWC also looked at the report of the meeting that took place between the federal government and organised labour where NLC was represented by 14 of its leaders and therefore resolved as follows:
“The CWS resolved to issue a 2-week (11 days from Wednesday) ultimatum to the federal government to reverse or face industrial action and peaceful assembly.
“In furtherance to this, CWC resolved also to convey a meeting of National Executive Council in line with our constitution on the 22nd of September, 2020 to give effect to this decision because the proposal for the action is to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020, if those issues are not addressed.
“NLC Central Working Committee also will mobilise its members, our civil society allies and other social partners to try to resist this policy because it has driven many into poverty.”
The unionist lamented the sorry state of affairs in the country, adding that there were instances where the cost of electricity had been established to be more than the minimum wage.
According to him, “This afternoon, CWC members were sharing their experiences arising from the exploitative nature of these policies where it is very evident that in some cases, even the N30, 000 minimum wage cannot even pay for the electricity bill.
“In fact, the experience we have here is that somebody loaded a credit of N30, 000 but it didn’t take him up to two weeks.
“This has been the experience all over the country.
“So, it is a decision that is biting at every worker, every family and I think it is a decision that certainly requires reversal.”
However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Wednesday, described as misplaced, the seven-day ultimatum by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the fuel price and electricity tariff hikes.
Ngige was addressing State House reporters after the cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The TUC issue, the seven-day ultimatum was misplaced because they were writing the president and issuing ultimatum to him.
“The president is not recognised by ILO.
“The competent authority for this nature of dispute in Nigeria resides in the man who oversees them, which is whoever is the minister of labour and employment,” the minister said.
Again, security agencies disrupt protest in Lagos
Security agents on Wednesday disrupted protest staged by activists demanding the reversal of the recent petrol price hike with several of the activists arrested.
They were carrying placards with several inscriptions asking the federal government to reverse the fuel price increment.
The protest was held under the auspices of the Joint Action Front (JAF), which had last week declared national mass actions against the increment in petrol price from N148 to N160.
But the protest was disrupted by policemen who arrested the protesters and taken away in four Area C Police Command vans.
It was learnt that the policemen told the protesters that they did not have a permit to stage the rally.
Deputy President of JAF, Comrade Achike Chude who spoke with Daily Trust, however, confirmed that all the activists arrested were released because they all insisted that the police must arrest all of them.
He said they did not need a permit to stage the rally, adding that many Nigerians whom he said were suffering the effect of the fuel price hike also joined the protest.
Residents troop to streets in Osun
Residents of Osun State staged another protest today against the recent increment in the electricity tariff and price of petrol.
The protesters under the auspices of JAF, Osun State chapter stormed the popular Ola-Iya junction with banners and placards carrying various inscriptions.
The protesters who were mostly youths took the protest to the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park at the Old Garage in Osogbo.
They expressed their anger over the increase in petrol price and electricity tariff and blame the federal government for insensitivity to the plight of the poor citizens.
One of them, Comrade Nurudeen Olatunji, who spoke on behalf of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) South-West zone, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the increment.
Earlier, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the state protested in Osogbo over the same issue.
Fuel crisis looms in FCT, north
Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) on Wednesday ordered the immediate stoppage of distribution of petroleum products from Lagos to the northern part of the country till further notice.
PTD in a statement by its National Chairman, Otunba Salimon Oladiti, said that the action became necessary following the shut out of heavy trucks including tankers from using all the link roads in Minna, Niger State capital by the state government effective midnight September 15, 2020.
According to him, “We want to inform the general public that from tomorrow, (Thursday, September 17), our members will not be lifting products from Lagos to the northern part of the country because the Niger State government has shut out heavy-duty trucks including tankers from passing through the state.
“The only alternative road is not motorable.
“This is Bida- Agaie- Lapai- Lambata road.
“This road is a death trap.
“When we got wind of the plan of the Niger State Government to shut the roads about weeks back, I spoke to the minister of works through one of his aides and he assured that the ministry would do palliative and remedial works on the road.
“Unfortunately, over two weeks after our discussion, nothing has been down on the roads.
“Until the federal government makes the alternative road motorable, our members will not resume lifting of products to the northern part of the country,” Oladiti said.
According to him, in a letter to their state chairman, the Niger State Government through its ministry of transport and dated September 9, 2020, signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Abdullahi U. Imam informed them about the decision to shut out all heavy trucks vehicles from passing through the link and major roads in the state from Tuesday.
Our correspondent reports that the Niger State government closed the roads in order to repair them.
“You are aware of efforts of the Niger State Government to rehabilitate Minna-Bida road and major roads leading to Minna.
“These efforts have largely been frustrated because of the heavy presence of heavy trucks plying these roads.
“In view of the foregoing, we hereby notify you of government’s decision for a total shutdown of all linking roads to Minna to heavy trucks from 12 midnight of September 15, 2020.
“You will please bring this information to all your members in order to guide them to find alternative routes for their movements.”