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Labour orders protests, accuses 7 Nigerian states of non-payment of Minimum Wage, pensions

*The Nigeria Labour Congress has directed the union’s councils in seven states in Nigeria to begin strikes against their state governments for apparent failure to implement the National Minimum Wage and pensions

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Concerned about the travails of its members in the affected states of the Federation, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked the civil servants Zamfara, Abia, Imo, Cross River, Kogi, Benue and Taraba states to commence industrial action against their state governments for failing to implement the new National Minimum Wage and pensions.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, President of NLC

ConsumerConnect reports the Labour Union, which stated this in a New Year message Comrade Ayuba Wabba, President of NLC, issued Saturday, January 1, 2022, that in line with the directives of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC), the councils in the seven states should begin strikes against their state governments for their alleged failure to implement the Minimum Wage and pensions.

NLC alleges sabotage over crisis in downstream petroleum sector

Comrade Wabba in his message to mark the New Year disclosed that the NLC also suspected foul play and sabotage in the successive administrations’ inability and unwillingness in Nigeria to resolve the crisis of the under-development in the Nigerian downstream petroleum sector.

The Labour union also regretted that successive governments in Nigeria had failed to take strategic advantage of the country’s natural endowment in oil and gas, especially the country’s prime position as the highest producer of crude oil in Africa to expand the economy, induce economic growth and engender sustainable national development.

The NLC also argued that as a major oil-producing country in the world, and after nearly 70 years of oil exploration in Nigeria, the West African country could not deliver on efficient and effective public petroleum refineries.

It stated: “Today, instead of referring to crude oil as the blessing that it is, we now commonly describe this gift of God to Nigeria as “Resource Curse.”

As regards the Federal Government’s purported plan to increase the price of petrol, NLC said that it would go ahead with the nationwide protest slated to commence January 27, 2022.

It further said: “Given the direct relationship between the outrageous amount said to have been invested in the payment of the so-called petroleum subsidy and the pressure to get foreign loans from Bretton Woods institutions to meet perennial shortfall in revenue, we believe that the crisis of the under-development of Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector, the comatose of our four public refineries and the inability of successive government to right this economic sabotage smacks of an international conspiracy at the behest of local collaborators to keep the Nigerian economy and people perpetually on their knees.”

According to the Union, the January 27 protests in the states will culminate in the submission of protest letters to the 36 state governors and subsequently, on February 1, 2022, there would be a national protest to be held in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We urge Nigerian workers and people to dust their sneakers and fully participate in the peaceful protests and rallies aimed at salvaging our economic future,” NLC stated.

The Nigeria Labour Congress also contended that the Federal Government’s suggestion on remedy for the crisis downstream petroleum sector is to stop further payment of the so-called petrol subsidy is akin to ‘cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.’

The idea of paying transport allowances “as robbing ourselves to pay ourselves as the amount being bandied for such transport subsidy clearly outstrips the amount that is currently expended on the so-called petrol subsidy,” the Labour union said.

The NLC added: “What the government is proposing is to abandon the Nigerian workers and people to very cruel market forces whose sole drive is profit maximisation.

“This is why we believe that private investment in building petroleum refineries is not enough. Government must ensure that public refineries also work.

“This way, there would be true competition and Nigerians would be able to derive the most benefit from a resource that God freely and amply made available to the Nigerian nation.”

On the country’s new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law in 2021, the NLC noted that the Acy still has not sufficiently addressed the deficits of governance, oversight, investment, environmental integrity, local beneficiation and the use of petroleum resources to advance the cause of ordinary Nigerian workers and the entire citizenry.

The workers’ union, therefore, urged the National Assembly (NASS) to immediately behgin the process of reviewing the Petroleum Industry Act to reflect the aspirations of the Nigerian workers in particular and the people as a whole.

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