The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have vowed to do all it can to shut down the economy of the country as from Wednesday morning if the Federal Government does not revert petrol price to N86.50.
Speaking to pressmen, after their meeting at the Labour House, Abuja on Saturday, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who is currently not in an amiable mood with the federal government, said that if the government fails to accede to their demands by midnight Tuesday, the workers would have no option than to call out their members on an indefinite strike.
Wabba added: “Nigerians are advised to stock sufficient food items that will last for a while, for the prosecution of the current struggle against neo-liberal agenda in the country.”
In a swift adherence to the directive of the organised labour, a cross section of Nigerians in different part of the country have started stockpiling food ahead of the impending industrial action.
The Punch gathered that a businesswoman in Osogbo, Osun State, Mrs. Mayowa Bamisaiye, was in support of the looming nationwide strike.
She said, ‘‘I do not agree with the new increment and I expected the labour unions to resist it. I have bought some food and I will buy more that will be enough to cater for my family during the strike. I also intend to withdraw some money to cater for some domestic needs as the strike lasts.’’
Also speaking, a human resources officer in Ibadan, Oyo State, Mr. Paul Sodeinde, said:
‘‘I have enough fuel for my generator. There is food in the house and water. I am ready to endure the strike for as long as it lasts.’’
In support of the strike, a customer service officer, Bolade Osagie, said:
“We expect the NLC to go through the whole hog like they did in 2012. In order to prepare for next week, I have started to get as much foodstuffs at home as possible. Even though I do not expect this strike to drag on before the Federal Government yields to the demands of the labour unions, I won’t be so unwise as not to get some food from the market. I will also try to get some more fuel for the generator too.”
Corroborating with the others, a civil engineer, Shade Oguntuase, said she was going to do all her shopping on Sunday (today).
She said, “I’ll visit the market on Sunday to get some foodstuffs with the NLC threatening to shut down the country. I have kids at home to feed. I don’t think I want to be caught in a tight corner of not having enough food for the family, should the strike go on for days.”
In the same vein, a businesswoman at Alade Market, Lagos, Mrs. Atinuke Joda, said she knew that labour was going to fight the new petrol price.
“Immediately the price of fuel was increased, I knew labour would resist. After church on Sunday, I will buy enough foodstuffs,” she said.
Meanwhile, a coalition of twenty civil society organizations have given votes of confidence to the deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector, thereby warning the organised labour to refrain from the proposed nationwide strike.
This is contained in a joint statement issued on Sunday for the coalition by the Executive Director of Conscience Nigeria, Comrade Tosin Adeyanju.
The statement reads, “No nation can move forward without liberalization or deregulation of its critical economy sector like ours as it was done in the telecom sector, about 80% of our countries revenue comes from oil proceed and as the global economy meltdown continue there is need for this to take place if we must be taken seriously among committee of nations. Therefore, the step taking by the Minister of state to deregulate this critical sector is the best as at this material time.
“We All know the implication that will arise as a result of this sudden changes, however we must endure this face in other for our country to survive this present economy realities that is very obvious.
“We equally appeal on the Nigerian Labour Congress and our other Civil Society colleagues to shed the proposed nationwide strike and engage the government on the need to create immediate palliatives to Cushing the effect of this policy instead of worsening the already bad economy state of the country. If our country is shut down as proposed, billions of naira will be lost and the country will suffer for it in the long run.
“We proposed immediate intervention by government in areas of introduction of subsidized transportation system across the country to ameliorate the sudden hike of transportation across the country. We equally appeal to government to immediately begin the implementation of the budget and immediate engagement of all stakeholders across the country to inform them about the benefit of deregulation and its benefit to Nigerian people.
“Lastly, we all must be conscious of the fact that we have no other country than Nigeria and we all must strive to make sure that the country works for the good of all and the present leadership of the country has demonstrate that by its action thus far. As responsible citizen we all must support the administration effort in stamping out corruption from our nation fabric.”