Senate meets with organised labour over fuel subsidy removal

MEMBERS of the Senate are meeting with organised labour at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday, August 8.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Joe Ajaero said the lawmakers invited members of the unions for the meeting due to their agitations over the removal of fuel subsidy.

Organised labour in Nigeria declared a nationwide protest over economic challenges in the country occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, held on Wednesday, August 2.

Ajaero noted that the protest was necessary because negotiations between the federal government and labour over the issues raised did not yield any positive results.

“We are here for the protest and to make a statement to Nigerians that since we started negotiations, there is nothing we have in our hands,” Ajaero said on Wednesday.

During the protests, the protesters pulled down one of the National Assembly Complex gates and gained access to the premises in defiance of security operatives, who earlier denied them entry.

The Senate then sent a three-person committee, including Senate Chief Whip Ali Ndume and senators representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Anambra North Ireti Kingibe and Tony Nwoye, to dialogue with the protesters.

Ahead of the protests, Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assured the country that measures would be put in place to mitigate hardships caused by the subsidy removal during an address on Monday, July 31, but the labour unions insisted that the promises made were not in tune with the challenges confronting citizens.

They also stated that Tinubu failed to address the problem of nonfunctional refineries in the country, which was considered to be the solution to the problems in the oil sector in Nigeria.

The protest was called off at the end of the first day after Nigerian President Bola Tinubu had a meeting with the agitators.

However, the ministry of justice sued organised labour for contempt of court, which provoked leaders of the unions into declaring a nationwide strike that would commence on August 14.

The contempt suit was withdrawn on Monday, August 7, though the decision of the labour unions over the planned strike is not yet certain.

Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via or @ije_le on Twitter.

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