Total Lockdown Looms in Nigeria as Labour is set to begin protest Wednesday

Spread the love

14 / 100

Economic activities in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and major cities across Nigeria may likely come to a halt starting from Wednesday, August 2, as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate unions will take to the streets to protest against the hike in fuel pump prices, tuition fees increase in public schools, and the Federal government’s refusal to pay 9 months’ withheld salaries of lecturers and workers in universities.

The NLC’s Central Working Committee (CWC), in a statement on July 25, 2023, pronounced that the Congress will kickstart an industrial action on August 2, against what it termed “anti-poor policies of the Federal government.”

The CWC further stated, “We direct all affiliates and state councils (of NLC) to begin immediate mobilization and closely work with associations, individuals, and other entities, including the ones already on the streets, to ensure that the government listens to the people.”

Subsequently, the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NLC held on July 27 affirmed the decision of the CWC and called on Nigerians to join the Congress on the streets across the country to protect the interest of saving Nigeria from falling into a deeper economic quagmire.

“NEC calls on all civil society organizations and Nigerians, wherever they may be, to begin mobilization to take action on their own to save our nation,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, NLC has taken to its Twitter handle on Sunday, calling on Nigerians: “Come out en masse; stop the lamentation, be part of the struggle for a better nation.”

In another post titled “Our position on fuel subsidy removal,” NLC stated, “There is nowhere in the world where the government leaves its citizens totally at the vagaries of the market without some measures of control and protection.

The Federal Government should, therefore, deal decisively with the criminal content of the subsidy instead of exposing ordinary citizens to avoidable pain and hardship.”

“As a matter of urgent national importance, it is imperative to fix all our refineries to be able to cater for domestic fuel consumption. Further, the government should go after parties associated with corruption, such as over-invoicing, under-delivery of products, overestimating of national capacity, crude oil swaps, smuggling, and making them accountable, etc.

“We are concerned that no government acting reasonably leaves its national currency to the forces of the market. The government’s so-called merger of exchange rates, even when it has nothing to export other than crude oil, raised our debt stock to N81 trillion from N72 trillion. It also impacts negatively on the cost of locally produced goods and services as a lot of inputs are imported.

“Finally, to address the raging revenue crisis, the government needs to deal decisively with crude oil theft and tax the rich progressively. It is time for the rich to make sacrifices. The poor have done enough; there is nothing more to give.

“We need to support poor and vulnerable Nigerians through structures and comprehensive social protection. There must be comprehensive government support for the education and health sectors instead of commercialising them.

“Our demands are Immediate implementation in good faith of the resolutions jointly signed with Congress and the government. Immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the government, including the recent hike in PMS price, school fees, and VAT.

“Fix our local refineries in Port-Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, release of 8-month withheld salaries of University lecturers and workers. Immediate inauguration of the Presidential Steering Committee and Sub-Committees as agreed in previous communications; to put a stop to inhuman actions and policies of the government,” it stated.

Meanwhile, a senior staff at the NLC headquarters in Abuja earlier told Nigerian Tribune that the Congress is working tirelessly to ensure the success of the industrial action.

NLC has been in marathon meetings with a coalition of civil society organizations, student bodies, market men and women, and business organizations to ensure that economic activities across Nigeria are totally shut down in solidarity, the source added.

Furthermore, the NLC senior staff revealed that all affiliate unions of the Congress have dispatched directives to their state councils to commence mobilization for the action. According to the staff, it will be an all-out protest, and labour will not restrain from action until the government heeds their demands.

The source also said that all affiliate union members are expected to participate in the protest across the nation, from aviation workers, lecturers, teachers, and non-academic workers, electricity sector workers, judiciary staff, maritime to the last member of all the unions affiliated with NLC. Therefore, economic activities are expected to be on hold until labour decides otherwise.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.