NLC Declares Nationwide Strike in Response to Fuel Shortages
In a significant turn of events, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has announced a nationwide strike set to begin next Wednesday. This decision comes as the country faces fuel shortages following President Bola Tinubu’s recent declaration that the era of fuel subsidy is over. The NLC’s President, Joe Ajaero, made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja.
President Tinubu’s Fuel Subsidy Removal:
During his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Tinubu boldly stated that the fuel subsidy is a thing of the past. He argued that with the absence of any provision for fuel subsidy in the 2023 budget, continuing to make such payments is no longer justifiable. Tinubu emphasized his government’s commitment to allocating funds towards infrastructure development and strengthening the economy.
Fuel Queues and Resistance:
Following the president’s announcement, fuel queues promptly reappeared across the country as Nigerians rushed to secure the precious resource. Although the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the House of Representatives supported Tinubu’s decision, it was met with resistance from the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC). Organized labor contended that the removal of fuel subsidy should not be a unilateral decision made by the president.
An extensive meeting between the Federal Government and the NLC took place on Wednesday but ended without a consensus. Representing the government were spokesperson Dele Alake, NNPC’s Group CEO Mele Kyari, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. On the labor side, NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC President Festus Osifo were present. The NLC demanded that the government revert to the previous fuel price before engaging in further negotiations.
Impending Nationwide Strike:
In response to the government’s failure to meet their demands, the NLC has now called for a nationwide strike. President Ajaero has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited until Wednesday of next week to restore the old price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol. If the ultimatum is not met, the strike will commence indefinitely, causing disruptions across the country.
The decision by President Tinubu to remove fuel subsidy has triggered a nationwide strike declared by the NLC. The conflict between the government and organized labor highlights the disagreement over the president’s authority to make unilateral decisions on subsidy removal. As the nation faces fuel shortages, the outcome of this strike will have significant implications for the Nigerian economy and its citizens.