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Economy: Fruitful, frank discussion informs suspension of protests as Tinubu assures of rehabilitating Port Harcourt Refinery –Labour Leaders

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR (4th from Right), Labour Leaders and Top Government Officials at the State House, Abuja, FCT

*The Organised Labour, in Nigeria suspends further nationwide protests after meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the State House, Abuja, agreeing to constructive engagement with the Federal Government to resolve all outstanding issues affecting the working population in particular and Nigerian consumers in general

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Organised Labour, in Nigeria, has suspended its nationwide protests after meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, evening Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at the State House, Abuja, FCT.

The leadership of the Organised Labour, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had resolved to suspend protests after meeting with President Tinubu to resume discussions over their demands from the authorities.

Sequel to their “fruitful and frank discussion” with Tinubu and their confidence in the President’s ability to encourage open and honest consideration of all the issues put forward, it was learnt the Labour leaders resolved to stop further protests across the country.

They rather opted for further constructive engagement with the government to resolve all outstanding issues as they affect the working people in particular and Nigerian consumers in general.

ConsumerConnect reports Festus Osifo, President General of TUC, after the meeting disclosed President Tinubu gave his word that the Port Harcourt Refinery, located in Rivers State of Nigeria, would become operational by the end of 2023.

It is recalled that previous administrations, including the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari, in the country had made bogus promises to rehabilitate the ailing oil refineries in Nigeria but to no avail.

Osifo, alongside his counterpart, Joe Ajaero,  President of NLC had met with the President Wednesday amid nationwide protests that rocked some cities in the West African country.

It was also gathered that members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), National Union of Electricity Employees of Nigeria (NUEE), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) also joined the protests.

Hitherto, the Labour Unions had made a number of demands from the Federal Government.

These include the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government including the recent hike in PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers.

Protests successful, to spur government to fix -NLC

Commenting on the protests held in some places in the country Wednesday night on Channels TV, NLC President Ajaero said the protests were “largely successful “and had the impact to spur the President to fix the major refineries across the nation.

“When we asked him, even before now, part of the things they have also said was issued around the supply chain.”

The Labour leader also stated: “We told him categorically, ‘Tell us when would the refinery start functioning? What we had from them was that by the end of this year, the refinery – the whole Port Harcourt refinery would come on stream most definitely by the end of the year.”

The PENGASSAN President also reportedly said the Organised Labour would ensure that  President Tinubu’s assurances of reviving the oil refineries would not just be empty talk, but that a structure would be put in place to hold the number one citizen accountable.

He noted: They (Federal Government) told us that by the end of this year, the whole Port Harcourt refinery would come on stream.

“With the extra information that we have, we believe it is possible, but we need to keep checking on them to ensure that we actually achieve that feat.”

Fate of other Nigerian oil refineries?

In regard to the current state of other refineries in the country, Osifo believes the duo of Warri and Kaduna refineries are an easy fix, but that of the latter is hampered by the security situation in Nigeria.

The President of TUC further explained: “The Port Harcourt refinery is a total rehabilitation but the Kaduna and the Warri refinery is a quick fix.

“Both refineries, they awarded to do, but at a particular point, they will mobilise to Warri, but Kaduna they refuse to mobilise because of security issues.

“So, Warri is actually ahead of Kaduna, but as of today, they have not given us a clear timeline on that.”

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