NLC, TUC, others ready for national strike, protests over fuel, electricity price hikes, if….

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent hike in the pump price of petrol and electricity charges for consumers, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria and other interest groups have given the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the recent increases in prices of the product and service.

ConsumerConnect reports the TUC issued the ultimatum in a letter dated September 14, 2020, and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Congress also threatened to commence an indefinite industrial action and national protests beginning from Wednesday, September 23, 2020, if the Nigerian Government refuses to reverse the recent increases.

The letter titled, ‘We Cannot Bear the Burden Any Longer, Issuance of Seven Days Ultimatum,’ was signed by Mr. Quadri Olaleye, President, and Mr. Musa Lawal, Secretary-General of TUC respectively.

The Union stated in the latter that “we have observed the gradual and steady annihilation of Nigeria and Nigerians in the light of government actions for the umpteenth time.

“Government should take immediate steps to: reverse the hike in prices as it affects electricity, petrol and all other social services in the country to status quo ante (prior to increase) within seven days.

“Provide adequate and quality healthcare and education for all to save the poor and the vulnerable at all levels.

It further stressed that “these demands are made in good faith, and to save the dying masses and the vulnerable in our society.

“In the event of not showing empathy for this class of people by adhering to above demands, we shall, together with our civil societies and allies sympathetic to the suffering masses of our people, commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23, 2020.”

Some of the issues that have become worrisome to the working class, their families and the masses include the sudden increase in the pump price of petrol without any definitive and concrete efforts to make the nation’s refineries functional, said TUC.

According to the group, the increase in electricity tariff was done without proper consultation and consideration of the effect of COVID-19, commensurate electricity supply and the provision of prepayment meters to consumers.

Likewise, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has said that all is ready for a mass action against the President Buhari’s Administration over the increases in fuel and electricity charges.

The CNPP in a statement Monday, by Chief Willy Ezugwu, its Secretary-General, said that it had mobilised a coalition of civil society groups to join Labour movements such as the TUC and NLC to join in the protest against development in the nation’s economy.

The CNPP is the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations in the country.

The group contended that it was high time it told the Nigerian Government that the people have run out of patience after five years of experiments with the current administration.

The Federal Government is now taking the citizens for a ride, CNPP stated.

The statement said: “First the government increased the fuel pump price to N145 per litre, and Nigerians were told that the government ha deregulated the petroleum sector to allow the market forces to determine the price of patrol.

It lamented that the government, instead of allowing the market forces to determine the price of patrol, has been fixing the price of fuel for marketers.

The group added: “As if that was not bad enough, the Federal Government increased the Value Added Tax (VAT), and in the midst of the hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, electricity tariff was also increased at a time Nigerians were demanding that the Federal Government should, as part of the pandemic palliative, give free electricity to citizens.”

According to CNPP, every government in the world is subsidising one sector or the other to better the lives of its citizens.

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