…Accuses NNPC of ignoring to advice
Lagos — The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, of not listening to advice as it insisted on Sunday that it was proceeding with its strike on Wednesday to protest last week’s tripling of petrol prices.
The strike would be the first big test for new President Bola Tinubu after he scrapped fuel subsidy at his inauguration day on May 29.
The NLC had, after an emergency meeting of its executive council in Abuja on Friday, June 2, 2023, said it would embark on strike from Wednesday, June 7 to protest the petrol price hike, demanding a reversal of the price hike as the only way to avert the strike.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress decided that if by Wednesday next week that NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company), a private limited liability company that illegally announced a price regime in the oil sector, refuses to revert itself for negotiations to continue, that the Nigeria Labour Congress and all its affiliates will withdraw their services and commence protests nationwide until this is complied with,” NLC president, Joe Ajaero, said.
In an Arise Television interview on Sunday, Ajaero said there was no going back on the strike as the NNPC went ahead to announce an increased price regime for petrol against labour’s position, at a prior meeting, that it should maintain the status quo, and not increase prices, to allow for discussions on the subsidy removal.
He stated that given NNPC failure to listen to advice, there was no way the strike would not proceed.
“We (NLC) have 36 state councils. We have 54 affiliate associations. The state councils and all our affiliates were at our meeting where we decided on the strike. They are mobilising members for the strike. The strike is going to go on, and there is no discordant voice about this. The strike will go on, on Wednesday,” he said.
Tinubu had, while delivering his speech after being sworn-in as Nigeria’s president on Monday, May 29, declared that “fuel subsidy is gone”.
According to him, there was no provision for subsidy in the national budget from June 2023.
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.
“We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” he stated.
Shortly after the announcement, fuel stations in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country witnessed queues while some were shut by the owners.
Many fuel stations were not selling following the announcement but the few that were open were besieged by crowds of buyers.
The price of the commodity has since then risen to over N550 per litre from N189 at the petrol pumps.
Fuel subsidy costs the government billions of dollars annually but is popular as it helps keep prices low in Africa’s biggest oil producer.
Follow us on twitter