By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja, Dec. 17, 2021
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has resolved to hold a national protest on Feb. 1, 2022, against plans by the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy.
The decision is contained in a communique issued on Friday in Abuja and signed by NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Ugboaja, after the NEC meeting.
The NLC said before the national protest, the labour union would hold protest rallies in all the 36 states of the country on Jan. 27, against the subsidy removal.
The communique noted that the removal of the fuel subsidy would expose Nigerian workers and the citizenry to acute deprivation and worsen the hyper-inflation trend in the country.
“The NEC, therefore, resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government, as it is extremely insensitive to the acute hardship being experienced by Nigerian workers and people.
“Pursuant to its rejection and resistance of further increase in the price of petrol, to organise protest rallies in all the 36 States of the Federation on Jan. 27, 2022.
“This would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 State Governors. Subsequently, a National Protest will take place on Feb. 1, 2022, in Abuja.
“In case government decides to announce new petrol prices before the proposed protests, the protest will kick-off instantly and without any other further notice in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory,” it added.
The NLC called on the Federal Government to promote local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use.
It advised the government to adopt effective economic policies to halt the trend of hyper-inflation in the prices of basic goods and services especially essential commodities, cooking gas and building materials.
According to the labour union, the inflation alone has put additional pressure on the lean income of Nigerian workers and other citizens and made life terribly unbearable for the poor.
On insecurity, the NEC reasoned that it had scared away potential local and foreign investors, and unleashed unquantifiable social dislocation and crisis, including food insecurity, widespread hunger and mass destitution.
The NEC advised the government to adopt the recommendations and policy initiatives articulated in the NLC National Summit on Peace and Security.
The NLC called for the adaptation of a multi-stakeholder approach and innovative non-kinetic intervention model towards achieving sustainable solution to the insecurity challenges.
It expressed concern over the plan by the National Assembly and Nigeria Customs Service to introduce excise duties on carbonated drinks manufactured in Nigeria.
“Such plans will only exacerbate the prevailing hyper-inflation of essential goods especially food consumables, lead to decline in sales, job losses in the food sub-sector and increased hardship for ordinary Nigerians.
“Plans for the privatisation of Nigeria’s railways, public healthcare facilities and concession of Nigeria’s major international airports.
“The NEC, therefore, resolved that the executive arm of government at the federal level and the National Assembly should work together with Organized Labour and manufacturers in the sub-sector for a win-win solution.
“The NEC urges government and promoters of the privatisation and concession plans to learn from the misadventure of the power sector privatisation which instead of improving the lives of the ordinary Nigerian have increased the level of suffering and hardship faced by the Nigerian masses.”
On electoral reform, the NLC called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.
It added that there was need for broader and deeper electoral reform, including the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission, democratisation of the appointment of INEC national leadership, adoption of proportional representation and diaspora voting.
The NEC demanded basic social, economic and political rights that fulfil the ideals of citizenship, improve the lot of the working class and actualise the dream of nationhood.
It said that the Congress would convene a national retreat for its leadership on engagement in partisan politics in the third week of Jan. 2022, in Abuja.