Labour restates commitment to ensuring good governance

Helen Shok Jok and Rahila Lassa, Abuja.

The Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, led by Ayuba Wabba, on Wednesday  said it was committed to ensuring good governance and transparent process for the good of Nigerians.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba made the pledge at the commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike over the increase in the pump price of petrol.

Addressing a peaceful rally in Abuja, Wabba said that the congress would continue to fight against anti-people policies of the Federal Government.

“Labour, particularly the NLC, had said consistently that if policies are right, we will support them but if they are anti-people, we will continue to resist such.

“That is why we are here today to resist this policy of the increase in fuel pump price; we must not allow market forces to drive the pump price of this very essential product in our country.

“Continuous importation of fuel will be used to enslave Nigerians; the Naira will be devalued and prices will keep going up and there will be no end to it.”

According to him, the NLC supports the fight against corruption and the issue of good governance, and would continue to demonstrate its commitment in those directions.

Wabba noted that corruption was inherent in the system, hence the reason why refineries were not functioning.

According to him, the refineries can be turned around because Nigerian refineries are among the newest in the world.

“We have refineries that have stayed up to 110 years and with regular maintenance, refineries can be fixed and production capacity can also be upgraded for local consumption.

 “But because of corruption we have refused to do so.

“So, instead of producing, we will be importing more than we should be producing.

 “Therefore, if we do not address corruption, even the attempt by government to fix the refineries will be scuttled,’’ the NLC President said.

NLC-Strike4Wabba assured Nigerians that NLC would continue to stand by them and attack issues that would create hardship for the masses.

Also speaking, Mr Isah Aremu, the General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWU), described the increase in the pump price of petrol by over 60 per cent as outrageous.

“You also increase electricity tariff with almost 50 per cent and there is no light. This is just too much for the common man; a lot of people are suffering.

 “Government must understand the plight of the masses as all hands are not equal and this kind of suffering must not continue.’’

The protest according to him, was to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to have a rethink on issues that affect the people.

Also speaking, Dr Dipo Fashina, the Chairman, Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LACSCO), described the increase as “arbitrary, unjust and against all rules of good governance.”

Fashina said the increase was a subversion of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria and undermining of democracy “because the result of this very action will kill democracy in the country, so government must have a rethink of this action,” he said.

Meanwhile, response by Nigerians to down tools was adjudged as poor as the turnout of to the  peaceful rally in Abuja heralding the strike was very low.

It will be recalled that the Federal Government on May 11 increased petrol price from N86.50 per litre to N145 per litre.