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Nigeria to Experience Total Blackout Soon as Electricity Workers Support NLC Nationwide Strike, after Snubbing FG Summons

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NLC Nationwide Strike
NLC Nationwide Strike

By Uche Amunike

It is clear that after the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) shunned a meeting that was summoned by the federal government on Sunday, concerning the fuel subsidy removal and the recent hike in fuel pump prices across the country, Nigeria may soon experience a total blackout as electricity workers in the country have shown their support for the NLC nationwide strike against the removal of fuel subsidy by the Bola Tinubu administration.

The NLC made it clear that they would not hold any meeting with any government representatives, except a legitimate team was set up to address the fuel subsidy removal.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) officials, however were present at the meeting which was a follow up to the talks held with the NLC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last week that ended in a deadlock.

The National Treasurer of the Nigerian Labour Congress,  Hakeem Ambali affirmed that the decision of the union to shun the meeting that followed up the Wednesday meeting on the fuel subsidy removal.

At the meeting which was attended by the Central Bank Godwin Emefiele, the Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, (NNPCL)  and some others, the NLC held their ground that the fuel pump price pegged at between N488 and N540 should be reversed.

According to Ambali, the NLC refused to attend the meeting at the State House because the federal government representatives did not have any official mandate or authority to speak for the president. It was an adjourned meeting that served as a follow up to the last one held at the State House. They insisted that they would only be ready to negotiate with a team that is legally and officially mandated to negotiate for the president of Nigeria.

The National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero explained, during an interview on Arise Television on Sunday, that there was no use for the meeting, because they already had a meeting with the president of the TUC and some other government officials were he told the NNPCL MD that any move to increase the pump price would be considered as a cue for war. Yet,  they went ahead to make the announcement of the fuel subsidy removal.

Hear him: ‘Of what use is today’s meeting? As of Tuesday night, I had a meeting with the president of the TUC and some other government officials. I told the NNPCL MD that any move to increase the pump price would be taken as war.’

‘They went ahead to announce. We told them to return to the status quo so that negotiations will continue but up till now, they have not done that. So what are we going to the meeting to do?’

‘We are not making any progress and this is because we are still at the same point. The issue of alternatives and subsidies are things we have discussed over time and our position has been made public but the government appears not to be interested in our position.’

In reaction to the media reports concerning factions that we are not in support of the NLC nationwide strike, the affiliates of the Congress agreed that they would take the next line of action. He maintained that the NLC did not have any northern or southern affiliates

On their parts, the National Union of Electricity Employees, (NUEE), has threatened to join the NLC nationwide strike action and has already directed its members to withdraw their services nationwide in protest of the sudden removal of the fuel subsidy by the Tinubu-led federal government.

In a notice signed and released by his acting general secretary, Dominique Igwebuike, the NUEE called on its members to obey the directive and stop work as from the early hours of Wednesday, in obedience to the directive given by the NLC.

It partly read: ‘To this effect, all national, state, and chapter executives are requested to start the mobilisation of our members in total compliance with this directive,’ the statement said.

It further added, “Please note that withdrawal of Services nationwide commences from 0.00 hours of Wednesday, June 7, 2023.’

‘You are encouraged to work with the leadership of State Executive Councils of the Congress in your various states with a view to having a successful action.’

While the government is striving to avert the NLC nationwide strike, different state chapters of the Congress have already started to mobilize their members to join the strike on Wednesday. According to the leadership of the union’s directives, the Lagos State chairman of the NLC, Funmi Sessi, affirmed that they were fully in support of the NLC nationwide strike.

She stated that the NLC was not against subsidy removal, but only showing concern about the effect that the abrupt subsidy removal was having on the masses.

Hear her: ‘We are part of the NLC NEC’s decision to embark on a nationwide strike from Wednesday. If the Federal Government does not caution the NNPCL to revert to the old pump price, the strike will go on as planned.’

‘The pump price must be reversed, then the Federal Government should afterward invite the NLC and stakeholders to dialogue over the issue. We are part of this decision in Lagos, and we are in full support of the strike.’

Other state chapters of the NLC, like Nasarawa, Bayelsa, Delta and Cross River States have shown their support for the proposed strike.

 

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