The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has joined the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in threatening to shut down activities in the country on September 28 if the federal government refuses to reverse the recent hike in petrol price and electricity tariff.
The decision came as the national executive council of the NLC agreed with the decision of its central working committee to stage a nationwide protest on September 28.
Premium Times reported that the NLC said it has finalised its plan to stage the nationwide rally to protest the increase in the prices of petrol and electricity tariff.
The TUC had issued a seven-day ultimatum, resolving to embark on a strike on September 23 if the federal government fails to meet its demands on the increases. However, a statement issued on Tuesday night said its ultimatum has been shifted to the midnight of September 28.
The statement which was signed by the TUC president, Quadri Olaleye, and its secretary-general Musa-Lawal Ozigi, called on the international community to place a “visa ban on all corrupt Nigerian politicians who have looted the country and people if its resources.”
“The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria after an exhaustive meeting held to review its mobilisation strategies on the forthcoming strike to protest fuel hike and electricity tariff resolved that the congress is going to work in collaboration with its sister Labour Centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the civil society allies to execute the strike,” he said.
According to the president, consequent upon this, the ultimatum which should expire by midnight of today September 22 has been shifted to September 28 for “effective and maximum effect.”
He appealed to Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector, to bear with the labour union while the industrial action lasts.
“You will recall that this government during its electioneering campaigns in 2014 told the world there is nothing like subsidy. We were told that they will build refineries, all that are history now. We run a mono-economy and any hike in fuel automatically will have an adverse effect on us yet successive governments tow that path because they are not creative,” he said.
Mr Olaleye said eight states are yet to commence the payment of the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment even though the president signed it into law on April 18, 2019.
“We have written letters to the governors and also engaged them in dialogue but all to no avail. Sometimes we wonder if these people have a conscience at all,” he said.
“The congress hereby appeals to all Nigerians to get ready for the unprecedented mass action against corruption, obnoxious policies, rape and other violent offences, breach of collective agreement, unemployment, etc.
“We also call on the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, etc. to support our struggle by placing indefinite visa ban on our political leaders whose stock in trade is to loot and impoverish the masses and the country. We can no longer take it. Enough is enough,” he said.
Similarly, the NLC condemned the increment in fuel price, bank charges, electricity tariff, VAT and other sundry charges.
In a communique signed by president of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba at the end of the meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, the congress endorsed the strike and protest actions and decided to shut down the entire Nigerian economy on September 28.
“NEC resolved to reject in its entirety, the issue of hike in electricity tariff by almost 100 per cent. Also, NEC resolved to reject the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation,” he said.
“In line with all of these, NEC decided to endorse the two weeks ultimatum given to the federal government to try to reverse those obnoxious decisions and also pronounce that the actions proposed by the central working committee is hereby endorsed by the NEC that 28th of September will be a date that those actions would be challenged by Nigerian workers, our civil society allies and also other union movements,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how electricity distribution companies had hiked their tariffs from about N30.23 to about N62.33 per kWh for Nigerians after the federal government said it would no longer subsidise electricity consumption.
Also, the price of petrol increased from about N145 to about N161 per litre.
In an effort to resolve these issues, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the minister of employment and productivity to hold a meeting between the federal government, labour unions and the civil society organisations.