A nationwide strike has been declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) starting from next Wednesday.
There are fuel shortages across the country due to President Bola Tinubu’s announcement in his inaugural speech that the fuel subsidy has been removed.
The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, announced the outcome of an emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja.
The government has been given a deadline of next Wednesday to revert to the old price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, according to a statement made by an individual. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited is specifically mentioned as the entity responsible for this action.
According to Ajaero, if the Federal Government fails to meet the ultimatum, an indefinite protest will be staged across the country.
Tinubu And The Subsidy Debate
In his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Monday, Tinubu declared the end of the era of fuel subsidy payment. He stated that the 2023 budget did not include provisions for fuel subsidy, making any further payments unjustifiable.
Tinubu has announced the removal of the fuel subsidy. According to him, the government will redirect funds towards infrastructure and other sectors to bolster the economy.
Following the presidential announcement, there has been a swift resurgence of fuel queues across the country, with Nigerians scrambling to obtain the premium product.
Tinubu’s decision has been met with resistance from the NLC and TUC, despite receiving support from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and House of Representatives.
Organised labour has stated that the President lacks the authority to unilaterally make a decision regarding the removal of subsidies.
According to TUC President, Festus Osifo, the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari deliberately deferred the handling of a “sensitive issue” to the current government.
The Federal Government and the NLC engaged in a lengthy meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter at hand. However, the meeting concluded without a consensus being reached.
Representatives from the Federal Government, including Dele Alake, the spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu, Mele Kyari, the Group CEO of the NNPC, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, were in attendance.
The National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, and the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria, Festus Osifo, were in attendance on the side of organised labour.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a demand to the Federal Government, insisting that negotiations with labour cannot resume until the government reverses the fuel price hike and returns to the status quo.
According to Ajaero, the Federal Government has not engaged in any discussions regarding palliative measures for Nigerians, resulting in the rejection of the recent announcement.