Fuel subsidy: NLC suspends planned nationwide protests

The Nigeria Labour Congress has suspended its nationwide protests slated for Thursday 27 and February 2.

The congress took the decision at its National Executive Council meeting held virtually on Tuesday.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who broke the news at a press conference hinged the decision to suspend the protests on the reversal of the Federal Government’s plan to stop the subsidy on petrol.

He said members of the NLC who had been mobilised would be demobilised following the decision to suspend the protests.

Before the announcement, the Congress had told The PUNCH on Monday that it would continue with the preparations for the protests.

Wabba stated that the National Executive Council of the NLC had given directives for the mobilisation of workers and citizens for the national protests if the Federal Government refused to reverse the planned hike in the pump price of petrol.

But justifying its decision, the NLC president said the congress dropped the planned protests “following the reversal and reapproach by government.”

He said, “At the peak of very rigorous mobilization of Nigerians by the Nigeria Labour Congress and a host of her civil society allies, the government through the Minister of Finance yesterday, January 24, 2022, made a public announcement reversing the plans to increase petrol pump price.

“The position of the government was also officially communicated to the Congress with calls for further engagement. Following the reversal and reapproach by the government, the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress met this morning virtually to consider the new position of the government.

“The NEC after vigorous debates took a decision to suspend the planned nationwide protest scheduled for January 27, 2022, and the national protest scheduled for February 2, 2022.”

The labour leader said the congress has communicated the decision to its civil society allies who have stood stoically behind Nigerian workers in their quest for social and economic justice.

The union argued that the attendant effect of the proposed removal of petrol subsidy would push the pump price of petrol to between N320 and N340 per litre.

This, it noted, would have exacerbated the inflation in the country, deepened poverty, heightened social tensions and push the country and millions of poor citizens to the very precipice.

Going forward, the NLC said it would continue to engage with the government on the very critical issues of ensuring local refining of petroleum, creation of sustainable jobs and affordable price of petrol for Nigerian workers and people.

It commended the workers, people and the civil society allies for “their unwavering solidarity and support during this struggle.”

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