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Subsidy Removal: NLC threatens to begin strike June 7 as Falana urges government to review position

Nigerian Workers During a Protest

*The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress charges the Federal Government and NNPC Limited to reverse the new pump prices, or workers will be mobilised to commence a nationwide strike from Wednesday, June 7

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will begin a nationwide strike Wednesday, June 7, if the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum (NNPC) Limited fail to reverse the reverse the hikes in the fuel pump prices.

Comrade Joe Ajaero, President of NLC, announced this development Friday, June 2, 2023, in Abuja, FCT, after an emergency meeting of the Union’s National Executive Council (NEC).

ConsumerConnect reports that NEC of the Labour Union at the meeting issued the Federal Government and NNPCL an ultimatum to reverse the new pump price by Wednesday, failing which members would embark on the nationwide strike.

Ajaero said the NEC took the decision to force a reversal of the removal of fuel subsidy by the government.

The decision to embark on strike was prompted by the pains Nigerians are going through, following the increase in the cost of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol after the Federal Government removed subsidy for the product.

The President of NLC said: “The NLC NEC directs all state councils and industrial unions to commence mobilisation from this moment.”

Presidential declaration on fuel subsidy removal

It is recalled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his inauguration speech May 29, in Abuja, had declared that the subsidy regime, which made the government to pay a substantial part of the cost of a petrol litre, was gone.

However, hours after the declaration, most filling stations in Nigeria shut down, making motorists queue for several hours, reports said.

In several states, including Abuja, the fuel pump price rose by more than 200 percent.

For instance, petrol was sold in Abuja for N195 per litre before the government removed the subsidy, report also noted.

It has since sold for N537 in the city after the NNPC Limited announced new pump prices for states during the week.

Transport fares have since attracted similar hikes across the country, as several citizens lament the policy and describe it as too harsh for a country where poverty is rife.

The cost of food and other necessities have also jumped because of the policy, according to reports.

Now, many workers reportedly trek long distances to get to work or return home, which could be dangerous to health and reduce productivity in the end.

Why Federal Government should review position on petrol subsidy removal, by Falana

In a related development, Mr. Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has asked the government to review it’s position on the fuel subsidy removal.

The lawyer, while speaking on a Channels TV programme, stated: “The government this time around will have to look at the totality of the economy.

“What you call fuel subsidy is an infinitesimal aspect of subsidies in the country.”

According to him, thee Nigeria Labour Congress ultimatum over the hikes in petrol prices is an invitation for the government to review its position on the matter.

Falana also said: “The government has begun discussions with the Nigeria Labour Congress, which perhaps should have preceded the announcement.

“But it is a new government and I expect as a new government, they should take advantage of the opportunity.”

He further explained “when workers issue an ultimatum, in Nigeria and wherever it is an invitation for the government to review its position.

“The government this time around will have to look at the totality of the economy. What you call fuel subsidy is an infinitesimal aspect of subsidies in the country.”

Fuel subsidy is only a small portion of what government spends in subsidising the country’s bourgeoisie, he noted.

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