Organized labor insisted on protesting the petroleum subsidy elimination on Monday.
After another Steering Committee on Palliatives meeting at the presidential residence in Abuja, they also doubted Bola Tinubu’s ability to control inflation and gasoline costs due to exchange rate unification.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Joe Ajaero, told correspondents that workers will continue their peaceful protest starting Wednesday.
He said that hoodlums had never hijacked a peaceful workers’ protest.
However, security agencies must protect workers during the protest.
He said the Steering Committee deferred until noon on Tuesday so labor leaders could listen to the president’s national broadcast on Monday.
Ajaero remarked, “By the time you have a single market and you are not having anything that has a comparative advantage, your energy is import-driven, then how are you going to control it? How can you control someone who exchanged a dollar for 900 naira? Will you tell him to sell cheaply?
“How can you tell even NEPA today, with the cost of production, not to increase tariffs?” By February, village corn sold for N18,000 was suddenly N56,000. How will you manage it?
Tinubu’s Chief of Staff said the closed-door group blasted topics and adjourned to listen to Tinubu’s broadcast.
He also said the administration is battling with oil cabals that have crippled the economy.
“We were locked behind for two hours; we had a good meeting; issues were thrashed out on the situation in Nigeria today in terms of government intervention on the situation in the country.
As you know, Tinubu is broadcasting today. Based on what we expect him to tell Nigerians, we adjourned until 12 p.m. tomorrow so labor can determine if they want to protest on Wednesday.
“But we believe that after tonight’s broadcast, Tinubu will speak to all the issues, roll out his interventions, and we believe any reasonable person will tell you that at that point there will be no need for any protest.”
He said the previous government did not provide for a petrol subsidy and that Tinubu is rolling out palliatives to cushion its effect on the people.
Last Friday, organized labor left the meeting, saying there were no high government officials to engage with them.
Ajaero, Osifo, Ugbaja, Toro, and other members of the organized labor delegation, including Prof. Sam Amadi, attended Monday’s meeting.
The Chief of Staff to Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachollom Daju; Group CEO of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari; and Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Olu Verheijen, are government officials.
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