With the recent increase in the pump price of fuel, the organised labour has warned that it takes something very little for explosion actually to occur, saying that Nigerians are, today, living on the edge, under the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
Organised labour gave this warning even as the “Buhari government are taking Nigerians for a ride” as prices of goods and services have gone up, especially that of transportation, saying, “it is like adding salt to injury.”
“Clearly speaking, we can say that many Nigerians are today living on the edge and it takes something very little for explosion actually to occur. While we think that Nigerian government needs to be very, very sensitive to the plight of Nigerians, by also providing good governance, and also protecting the citizens against these exploitative tendencies, we cannot come to terms on why the government will continue to increase pains on Nigerians,” President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba said.
Also, the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, said it is difficult for Nigerians to cope in this circumstance, adding that the Buhari administration should stop pushing Nigerians to the wall.
“This is too daring,” he warned, saying, “from all indications it appears this government has lost touch with Nigerians. All the policies Nigerians have kicked against, they have implemented. They have developed a thick skin that our pleas and cries no longer mean anything to them.
“No government has raped this country like the present one; ironically it has enjoyed our understanding the most. They beat us and when we cry, they send security operatives after us or force us to pay a fine of N5m for hate speech. Our patience has run out.”
Comrade Wabba described the price increase as an height of insensitivity and taking Nigerians for a ride for three increases to have happened in quick succession under three months.
He said: “While condemning this in the strongest terms, the NLC and its allies certainly take these rounds of increase as part of the exploitative tendencies, that is targeted against the poor in this precarious time.”
He emphasized that the government has become use to condemnation, adding, “what will happen is that we must have to organize actions to protest against this mysterious policy.”
He said: “We reject it in its entirety and we warn the government not to take Nigerians for a ride because we know that with this challenge now, the cost of goods and services will skyrocket. Already, how much is a bag of rice? It is more than a minimum wage now. You also know that a bag of maize is going for more than N22,000. Where are we heading to in this country? What do they want the poor to do? And what is the rationale of all of these? Are they deliberately trying to push citizens to react? Because I think this is what is happening. And I think it is most unfortunate.”
The organised labour – the NLC and the TUC – said they are calling the meetings of their organs to take critical action on the development.
Comrade Olaleye said: “Do we still wonder why unemployment and insecurity have increased? This is disgustingly shameful. We urge the government to listen to the voice of reason and reverse the prices immediately. Stop pushing Nigerians to the wall. This is too daring. The Congress is calling a meeting of its organs to take decisions on this obnoxious move.”
Comrade Wabba also said: “We will do our organ’s meeting and take a decision. On any issue we drive, organs will meet and take decision, that is how we operate.
“You are aware that any time there is an increase, the obvious fact is that cost of transportation will go up, cost of food will go up.”
No going back on planned protest against fuel price hike – TUC
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Saturday says it will not go back on its decision to embark on a protest on Tuesday against the increase in the prices of fuel and electricity tariff despite speculations about a court order stopping the proposed demonstration.
TUC Deputy National President, Chika Onuegbu, said the union had begun to mobilise its members for the protest and strike, The PUNCH disclosed.
Explaining that the TUC was not aware of any court order to stop the planned protest, Onuegbu condemned the increase of fuel price, adding that the Federal Government’s action had become a burden on Nigerians.
He said, “I must say that we are mobilising our members for the planned protest on Tuesday. Some are talking about a court order; but to the best of my knowledge, we are not aware of any court order stopping our planned protest.
“I am also not aware that our secretariat has received any court order; our people have not been served. As a matter of fact, we are preoccupied with mobilising our members for the protest.
“The increase in fuel price is an extra burden on us and our families; the increase in electricity tariff is an extra burden on us and our families; the increase in Value Added Tax is an extra burden on us and our families; and the general increase in food prices.
“While all these are happening, our members are being owed salaries, gratuities and pensions. Honestly speaking, we have a lot that we are bothered with this period. I think we have to really make a statement that Labour is united in the struggle for a better Nigeria.”
Onuegbu called on the Federal Government to immediately revert to the old prices of fuel before the recent increase to avert the protest.
“Again, the National Secretariat has not given any counter-order to say we should not proceed with the protest/strike.
“The last order I know is that we have to go ahead with the strike and it is that order we are working on. The government should immediately revert to the old price of petrol before these increases,” he maintained.