SOLIDARITY FOR EVER: From left: NLC National Vice President Comrade Emmanuel Ajoku; Acting National Secretary Comrade Owei Lakemfa; President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and Deputy President Comrade Mohammed Shuaibu after the meeting … yesterday Labour orders closure of markets, airports, banks, petrol stations
Jan 5, 2012 – Indefinite Strike Begins On Monday – Nigeria Labour Congress
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has directed workers to proceed on an indefinite strike from Monday – in protest against the government’s sudden removal of petrol subsidy. naijagists.com
Petrol price has climbed from N65 per litre to between N138 at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stations and N200 in some states since New Year’s Day when the policy was announced.
The government’s action has been greeted by street protests in many cities.
After a meeting in Abuja, NLC President Abdulwaheed Omar read a joint statement by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
He said: “From Monday 9th January 2012 date, all offices, oil production centres, air and sea ports, fuel stations, markets, banks, among others, will be shut down.”
Omar said there was a subsisting understanding between Labour and the Federal Government in 2009 that removal of subsidy will not begin, until certain conditions have been met.
He said these conditions, which include fixing of the refineries and building of new ones, have not been met.
The others are regular power supply and provision of other social infrastructure, such as railways and repairs of roads as well as eliminating the corruption associated with supply and distribution of petroleum products in the downstream sector of the oil industry.
In the communiqué, entitled “In defence of the Nigerian people on fuel price increases”, labour advised Nigerians to stockpile basic needs, especially food and water.
The communiqué added: “After exhaustive deliberations and consultations with all sections of the populace, the NLC, TUC, and their pro-people allies demand that the Presidency immediately reverses fuel prices to N65. If the Government fails to do so, Labour directs indefinite general strike, mass rallies and street protests be held across the country with effect from Monday 9th January, 2012.”
Labour explained that the primary objective of the call for a strike is to “reverse the fuel price to N65, restore normalcy and reclaim Nigeria for Nigerians”.
NLC and TUC called on Nigerians to participate in the strike.
Omar advised the police and the armed forces not to use their arms against their fellow Nigerians during the protests.
“The emphasis is on peaceful protests, rallies and strikes. Labour calls on the police, armed forces and other security agencies to reject orders that they turn their weapons on fellow Nigerians. We warn that anybody who does so will be individually brought to justice.”
Omar said increased petrol prices have culminated in increased cost of living, impoverishing Nigerians as predicted by the congress.
He said: “Due to the untoward hardship workers and other Nigerians are experiencing based on excessive increase in petrol prices, there have been sporadic protests by Nigerians in at least 10 cities.”
Labour added that these protests, which are peaceful, have witnessed the use of unprecedented force by the police, leading to harassment, intimidation, arrests and the murder of a protester.