The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has suspended the strike action it commenced on last week Wednesday to protest the sudden hike in pump price of petrol from N86.50 to N145. Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting late Sunday evening, the NLC, it’s protest was informed by the twin issues of the unjustified hike in electricity tariff and illegal increase in pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), better known as petrol.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and jointly signed by the NLC President and General Secretary, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson also stated that the NLC “will continue to resist wrong legislations, policies, and programmes and will always act in the best interest of Nigerians as it remains the only panNigerian organisation not affected by religion, region, creed, partisanship or primordial sentiments.” Below is the full text of the communiqué.
An emergency meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) held today, Sunday, May 22, 2016, at Bolton White Hotels, Abuja on the on-going protest action against the increase in pump price of petroleum products and hike in electricity tariff. NEC reviewed the protest action and its impact across the nation, noting the sacrifices of its members, response of the generality of Nigerians, government’s attitude and the brutality of the police in some states. NEC took special notice of the Ebonyi State Police Command where our members were intimidated, harassed, arrested and detained unjustly.
After an exhaustive deliberation, NEC noted its protest action was informed by the twin issues of the unjustified and illegal hike in electricity tariff and increase in the pump price of petroleum products. NEC adjudged the protest action to be a success in spite of both internal and external challenges. NEC reiterated the correctness of its position on the twin issues of electricity tariff hike and the astronomical increase in the pump price of PMS and the hardship they portend for Nigerian masses. NEC also acknowledged that the temptation to compare the strike action with that of 2012 could be compelling but that the scenario had changed as both the actors and the terrain were different.
NEC said before it had embarked on the action, it had anticipated a probable outcome and therefore was not surprised by government’s negative response. Nonetheless, it felt fulfilled by having the presence of mind and courage to identify its mission and fulfilling it, stressing that if a similar situation arises again, it will still rise and stand with the people. NEC, therefore, commended those who took part in the action in one way or the other and reaffirm its commitment to the struggle. The action, it reiterated was taken in the best interest of the poor and the weak and in drawing government’s attention to the dangers of relying on the importation of petroleum products as a sustainable strategy for making available petroleum products.
It expressed the belief that in the days ahead, time would prove its position right. Congress singled out for commendation, its state councils, affiliates and other patriotic Nigerians who at very short notice picked up the gauntlet for this struggle. Congress commends the leadership of the National Assembly and All Progressives Congress led by Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu. In consideration of the above, NEC after due consultation with its constituents resolved to suspend with immediate effect, the action it commenced on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The action is thus at this moment is suspended.
Congress will resume negotiations with the government on the twin issues of the hike in electricity tariff and an increase in the pump price of petroleum products and any other issue that may arise thereof. It similarly remains committed to genuine dialogue within the framework of internationally established and recognized principles of representation. The Congress will continue to resist wrong legislations, policies, and programmes and will always act in the best interest of Nigerians as it remains the only pan-Nigerian organisation not affected by religion, region, creed, partisanship or primordial sentiments.
The Congress urges the government to play by the rules of its engagement with its constituent parts, stakeholders, and non-state actors as proof of its commitment to deepening our democracy and also in acknowledgment of the wellworn credo that what goes around, comes around. The Congress also urges the citizenry to be vigilant at all times as the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.