The Labour Movement in Nigeria has commended the leadership of the House of Representatives for siding with the Nigerian people by asking the Federal Government to immediately suspend its January 1, 2012 cut on petrol subsidy, to allow for further dialogue with relevant stakeholders.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Nigeria, in a swift reaction to the resolution during its emergency session Sunday, said the House’s resolution remained the best way forward to resolve the crisis trailing the contentious policy, resulting in unprecedented hike in petrol price by over 117 percent, with its attendant spiraling rise in the prices of goods and services.
The country has since erupted in waves of spontaneous protests and condemnations by affected Nigerians, spearheaded by a cross section of Nigerian youths whose plea to government for a rethink on the implementation of the policy is yet to receive attention from government.
Though President Goodluck Jonathan said in his broadcast on Saturday that the policy was not meant to deliberately inflict pain on Nigerians, he said his administration was not considering a reversal, as the deregulation was the only way to transform the economy as well as ensure transparency and competitiveness in the oil industry.
In a statement in Abuja signed by NLC acting General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa, and TUC Secretary General, John Kolawole, the two labour centres commended the lawmakers for its “exemplary leadership for rising to the demands of the times, and in a bipartisan manner, seeking to steer the country away from a path that may have disastrous consequences.”
While calling on the Senate to also rise up to the expectations of Nigerians by concurring with the House motion, the unions expressed the hope that “President Goodluck Jonathan will listen to the loud voice of the Nigerian people, which this motion has further ventilated by immediately suspending the fuel price hikes and allowing dialogue and consultation on the issue of fuel subsidy removal.”
According to the two unions, if the motion were adopted by the executive arm of government, it would immediately douse the explosive tension in the country and restore the nation to its pre-January 1, 2012 normalcy, adding that other arms of government need to work with exemplary speed, seriousness, sensitivity and patriotic zeal as members of the lower House for the country to be a better place for Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the unions have reiterated their resolve to go ahead with the indefinite strikes, rallies and mass protests planned for tomorrow nationwide, saying right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right that cannot be bridge.