• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Labour insists on protest Wednesday

The organised labour has insisted on going its planned protest starting from Wednesday, over the removal of petroleum subsidy, just as it expressed doubts that President Bola can control inflation and petrol prices.

Joe Ajaero, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), who spoke to newsmen after a meeting with government officials on how to address the impact at Presidential Villa on Monday, said the plan for workers to proceed on a peaceful protest from Wednesday has not been jettisoned.

Ajaero also debunked the rumour being peddled in some quarters that the planned peaceful would be hijacked street urchins, but called on the security agencies to provide security for the protesters and workers.

Read also: Tinubu meets labour, lawmakers over planned strike

He said the meeting of the Steering Committee was adjourned to 12noon on Tuesday.
Speaking on unification of the naira, 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 900 (naira)? Are you going to tell him to sell below the price?

“How are you going to tell even DisCos today, with the cost of production not to increase tariff? Even corn in the villages that was sold at N18,000 by February, is now about 56,000. How are you going to control it?”

On the side of the governmen, Femi Gbajabiamila, the chief of staff to the president, said that issues were trashed at the closed door meeting and that they adjourned to listen to the President broadcast.

He also said that the government is dealing with the oil cabals that have brought the economy to its knees.

“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 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 broadcast, 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.”

Asked whether oil cabals were more powerful than the security and government, Gbajabiamila said, “Yes they are and that’s what government is dealing with. First of all remove the subsidy, that’s the first step.”

Nuhu Ribadu, the national security adviser (NSA), pleaded with the organised labour to give the administration a chance to fix the struggling economy, saying they inherited a bad situation.

At the meeting were Ajaero, his counterpart from TUC, Festus Osifo; the general secretary of NLC, Emma Ugbaja; TUC secretary, Nuhu Toro and other members of labour.