The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has told the Federal Government and Nigerians that it will go ahead with its planned strike scheduled to commence on Wednesday.
The President of the Congress, Joe Ajaero, made this known in Abuja to State House Correspondents on Monday evening.
This was after a meeting of the NLC, Trade Union Congress, and the representatives of the Federal Government under the aegis of the Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Though the meeting was adjourned till midday on Tuesday (today) to allow all parties the opportunity of watching President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s broadcast, Ajaero said that based on what was on the ground, there would be no going back on the strike.
Reacting to the President’s plan to intervene on exchange rate over inflation and high cost of gasoline prices, Ajaero said: “By the time you have a single market and you are not having anything that has a comparative advantage, your energy is import driven, then how are you going to control it?
“How are you going to control somebody that exchanged dollar at about N900?
“Are you going to tell him to sell below the price?
“How are you going to tell even NEPA today, with the cost of production, not to increase tariff?
“Even corn in the villages that was sold at N18,000 by February, now it’s about N56,000.
“How are you going to control it?”
However Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, said issues were trashed at the closed door meeting.
Gbajabiamila said the government was dealing with the oil cabals that have brought the economy to its knees.
He said” “We have been locked behind for a couple of hours.
“We had a good meeting.
“Issues were thrashed out on the situation in Nigeria today in terms of issues centred around on government intervention on the situation in the country.
“We agreed to adjourn till tomorrow.
“As you know, Mr. President is making a national broadcast today.
“Based on what we anticipate that Mr. President will be telling Nigerians, we decided to adjourn the meeting till 12pm tomorrow before labour can decide whether or not they want to continue with the protest on Wednesday.
“But we believe that after tonight’s broadcast, the President will speak to all the issues, he will roll out his interventions and needles to say we believe any reasonable person will tell you that at that point there will be no need for any protest.”
On why the government did not roll out palliatives before announcing the stoppage of the petrol subsidy, Gbajabiamila said the previous government did not budget for subsidy and that President Tinubu is rolling out palliatives to cushion its effect on the people.
Asked whether the oil cabals were more powerful than the security agencies and government, he said: “Yes, they are.
“And that’s what the government is dealing with.
“First of all remove the subsidy.
“That’s the first step.”
Also speaking, the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, pleaded with the Organised Labour to give the administration a little chance to fix the battered economy.
Ribadu said that President Tinubu inherited a bad economy that he is working hard to fix.
He said: “The meeting was an opportunity for us to appeal to the labour leaders by extension Nigerians that we are facing difficulties and challenges that are not our making.
“We inherited a very bad situation.
“Most of the problems people are talking about are not a creation of this government.
“This government is barely two months old and since we have been facing these difficulties and challenges, we have a listening and engaging president, a president who will want to have a conversation and react.
“He is truly, genuinely, honestly doing it.
“Our appeal is please Nigerians give us the support that is needed and required.
“We are working.
“We are trying to change things.
“We inherited a very bad situation.
“We are trying to stop all those things we witnessed in the past.
“We are trying to stop the killings, stop the attacks on trains, stop attacks on prisons, stop IPOB what they are doing, stop bandits, stop Boko Haram.”
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