Storm gathers for President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as labour unions rise in demand for reversal of the pump price of petrol to N86.50k or face the wrath of workers.
Government had on Wednesday announced an increase of pump price of petrol to N145 per liter causing an immediate rise in the price of goods and services.
The announcement followed federal government’s decision to put an end to its control of the downstream sector of the industry leading to an end to the subsidy regime which had been blamed for the continued scarcity of petroleum products around the country.
Announcing the development last Wednesday, Nigerians were told that leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSEN) and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) backed the decision.
But rising from a meeting Saturday, the NLC issued a 96-hour ultimatum to the Federal government to reverse its action or embrace an all-out strike action.
Ayuba Wabba, who is President of the Congress, said at the end of the meeting that government has 96 hours to rescind its decision on deregulation or face a shut-down of the economy by workers.
Wabba also said the decision was backed by all affiliates of the congress.
He urged Nigerians to brace up for the strike which he said may last as long as government holds on to its position.
Earlier, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), had in a communique after an emergency meeting of its National Executive committee (NEC) rejected the price increase and ordered immediate reversal.
TUC stated that it “deliberated extensively on the recent increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol by the Federal Government and passed the following resolutions.
“The NEC-in-Session rejected in its entirety the astronomical increase in the price of petrol from N86.50 per liter to N145 per liter and demanded that the Government should revert to the old price regime with immediate effect.
“The NEC in session gave the Federal Government up till Wednesday, 18th May, 2016 to invite the leadership of labour for discussion aimed at determining the appropriate way forward.
“The NEC-in-Session also directed the leadership of the TUC to interface with the NLC and the Civil Society Allies to work out action plans that would be put in place to protest the insensitive fuel price hike should the Government fail to meet the Wednesday, 18th May, 2016 deadline”.
TUC’s position was signed by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Ag. Secretary General, Comrade Simeso Amachree.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has ordered its members across Nigeria to get ready for a nationwide strike and protest.
It said the strike would last till whenever government reverses the increase.
The order was contained in a NULGE memo with reference NULGE/17/Vol. 17/19, dates May 13, 2016 and signed by its general secretary, Joshua Irapakob. It is titled ‘Indefinite Strike/Mass Protest Action Against Increase In PMS Products’.
NULGE said the strike will commence on May 18, 2016.
“I am directed to convey the resolution of National Executive council (NEC) meeting of Nigeria Labour Congress held on 13th May 2016 while deliberating on the above subject matter.
“You are by this circular directed to sensitize all local government workers in your state towards embarking on an indefinite strike/mass protest action slated to commence on Wednesday 18th May, 2016 across the country till further notice.
“You are advised to liaise with the leadership of the NLC in your state for further arrangement concerning the protest and give this directive the widest publicity it deserves”.