Minister calls on labour to shelve strike

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

Nigeria’s Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello has appealed to the organised labour to shelve the proposed nationwide strike in the interest of the nation.

While speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister noted that, this is not the right time the union should embark on strike as the nation’s economy is passing through a difficult challenge.

I will like to appeal to the labour leaders to listen to the appeals from the generality of the people that now is not the time to go on strike because we all know what our dear country is going through economically.

“We all know what the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing to ensure that we get out of the economic challenges we are facing, which really is as a result of factors that arose totally beyond the control of everyone in government now, including the citizens,” the minister explained.

Mr. Bello noted that during the interactive session of the Minister of State, for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu and the members of the House of Representatives, he explained the rationale behind the hike and it was very convincing as his explanations reflect the reality on ground.

Supporting government’s policy
He suggested that the leadership of the labour union should use their position to encouraged workers to support the government’s policy.

He persuaded the union to ensure the use government organisations and individuals that were supposed to regulate and oversee the entire petroleum value chain from exploration, refining, importation, distribution and eventual retail to make sure that everybody works efficiently.

The labour leaders have to understand that for a very long time, we have not had a leader who we all know and see practically that is genuinely concerned in trying to salvage our nation. So, these kinds of opportunities do not come all the time. It’s an opportunity of a life time and I believe as a people, we Nigerians have to embrace this opportunity and support the government, pray for the government and ensure that these policies are effectively implemented,” he stressed.

Mr. Bello said one of the benefits was that the system would be efficient and priced based on their true costs, not addition of cost that appreciates due to inefficiency.

The minister added that, “More importantly, we need to look at how to ease the pains of Nigerians. If you take the FCT administration, what we intend to do, obviously, if the price of fuel goes up as it has done, the tendency is that transport fares will also go up. So, as a government, what we intend to do is to deploy more buses onto the streets and as you know, the bus fares have always been subsidised.”

He restates that, “We should have faith in the President and understand that these systemic and structural problems that we are facing today are culminations of issues that occurred many years ago and I think it is good for us to be realistic and understand that they cannot just disappear overnight. It requires collective hard work for us to salvage this country and I’m very confident that by the grace of God, we’ll succeed.”

The Minister assured that effective security measures have been put in place to ensure that nobody is molested as they come out to seek for their daily bread.