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NLC insists on Wednesday strike, mobilises workers



The Nigeria Labour Congress has commenced mass mobilisation ahead of its planned nationwide strike scheduled to begin Wednesday to protest the hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.

In a schedule obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, the NLC urged Nigerians to “join us at the Unity Fountain, Abuja on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at 7 am.”

“There is nowhere in the world where government leaves its citizens totally to the vagaries of the market without some measure of control and protection. The Federal Government should immediately deal decisively with the criminal content of subsidy instead of exposing ordinary citizens to avoidable pain and hardship.

“As a matter of national importance, it is imperative to fix all our refineries to be able to cater to domestic fuel consumption,” the NLC said.

Speaking further on the recent monetary policies rolled out by the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government, the NLC said, “We are concerned that no government acting reasonably leaves its national currency to forces of the market.”

Insisting on its demands, the union reiterated the need for the government to immediately reverse all “anti-poor policies”, and release the withheld salaries of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, among others.

Ahead of its meeting with the Federal Government scheduled to be held today (Monday) and the nationwide strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday, the NLC said the Tinubu-led administration was playing games with the lives of Nigerians.

The congress also called on the government to take seriously the engagement with the labour unions.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, the National Treasurer, NLC, Hakeem Ambali, recounted how the government shunned the Friday, July 28, 2023 meeting with labour leaders at the State House.

He further questioned the government’s intentions for approving  N70bn as palliatives for members of the National Assembly while it continued to “play games” with labour.

He said, “Government needs to take engagement with Labour seriously. The government’s economic policy had meted untold hardship on Nigerian people and workers’ patience is running out. How can the government approve about N70bn to National Assembly members and about N35bn to the judiciary, those who are very comfortable in terms of salary, and continue to play game with Labour?”

Meanwhile, academic unions, such as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, have also begun nationwide mobilisation of their members for the strike scheduled to commence on Wednesday.

The national presidents of the two unions, in separate interviews with our correspondent in Abuja, noted that as affiliate members of the NLC, they would join in the strike.

The National President, SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim, said, “We are actively going to participate.”

Similarly, the National President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe, said, “Of course, we will join the protest.”

Also, some northern youths, under the aegis of the Arewa Citizen Watch for Good Governance, on Sunday, said they were set to hit the streets of Abuja to protest the subsidy removal, which, they said, had inflicted pains and hunger on them.

The youths also called for the sacking of the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Limited, Mele Kyari, for allegedly misleading the President on the subsidy removal.