…Group Describes Court Order As “Irresponsible’
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday, commended its members and allies for responding very strongly in favour of its planned strike action to protest the increase in pump price of the petroleum product.
Similarly, the Campaign for Democracy, while supporting the strike action as long overdue, described the court order stopping the NLC from proceeding on its planned strike as “unfortunate and height of irresponsibility”.
But the Senate has directed its Committee on Labour to constantly interface with the Federal Government and the labour unions currently on the negotiation table over the hike in fuel price.
In an emailed statement issued by its General Secretary, Comrade (Dr.) Peter Ozo-Eson, NLC warned that today’s comfort would not blind its members to the cruel realities of the increase in the pump price.
“We commend our members and Civil Society allies for turning out enmasse today to prosecute the strike action against the increase in pump price of petroleum product in spite of teething challenges.
“We salute their courage, patriotism and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming acts of threats and treachery. We note that no reasonable struggle comes easy, and this cannot be different.
“Thus, in pursuance of the mandate given by the NEC of the Congress in conjunction with our Civil Society allies, the protest continues tomorrow.
“Accordingly, we urge you to mobilise your members, friends or colleagues for the continuation of the protest tomorrow.
“You are requested to assemble at Berger Roundabout tomorrow at 7 a.m.
“For those who are yet to join the strike action, we similarly urge you to muster the necessary courage to be part of this historic struggle in defence of yourself, the weak and the vulnerable.
“No level of comfort today or primordial sentiments should blind us to the cruel realities of the increase in the pump price of the petroleum products as what we are seeing is just the beginning,” the statement read.
In a related development, the Campaign for Democracy, in a statement in Abuja said the strike was long overdue and described the court order stopping the NLC from proceeding on its planned strike against the new fuel regime as unfortunate and height of irresponsibility.
The CD, according to the statement signed by its President, Ifeanyi Odili, insisted that the court order was a misuse of judicial discretion.
“It is sad that judiciary which has always been seen as the last hope of the common man is now playing to the gallery, fallen into the contraptions of the politicians, thereby throwing the dignity, honour and true professionalism in to the dustbins.
“The judiciary has not ceased to acknowledge the fact that the workers have the constitutional right to protest against any policy of the government that adversely affect them including judicial workers.
“The Campaign for Democracy is of the firm believe that the strike is long overdue because virtually all the states in the country are owing their workers more than six months salaries, this alone, has called for work boycott across the country”, it stressed.
The group, therefore, blamed the President, Muhammadu Buhari administration for the woes of the Nigerian workers for not putting them into serious consideration before the increment was announced.
It said the Buhari government should not forget its promise to make Nigerians happy, wondering, “How will N145.00 per liter of fuel make Nigerians happy? It has inflicted much pain and agony in the lives of Nigerians hence the reversal”.
“Consequently, we call on Nigerian workers to take their destiny in their own hands by embarking on the proposed strike and defiance act. Nigerians should join hands with the NLC for the success of the strike since it is a collective responsibility,” the group stated.
Meanwhile, worried by the consequent impacts of the ongoing strike by the organised labour over the recent increase of petrol pump price, the Senate has directed its Committee on Labour to constantly interface with the Federal Government and the labour unions currently on the negotiation table over the hike in fuel price.
The Upper Legislative Chamber, took the decision after a 35-minute closed-door session presided over by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Specifically, it directed the Committee on Labour, headed by Senator Suleiman Mohammed Nasif to commence immediate dialogue with the negotiating team to ensure an early resolution of the crisis.
Ekweremadu, while reading the resolution of the Senate, said: “The Senate in a closed-session deliberated on the nationwide strike by labour and the ways of resolving the issues to avoid untold hardships to Nigerians.
“We also mandated the committee on Labour under the chairmanship of Mohammed Nasif to continue to interface with both government and labour for an early resolution of all the matters. Is this a true reflection of what transpired in closed session,” he said.