Subsidy removal: NUJ, NULGE direct members to join nationwide strike

THE Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has directed its members to join the industrial action scheduled to commence on Wednesday, June 7.

The NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, June 2.

The union said journalists in the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would join the nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the hike in fuel pump price, following the removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit (PMS).

The statement said the NUJ Central Working Committee (CWC) deliberated and found the NLC’s position and proposed strike a worthy action, as it is in the best interests of Nigerian citizens.

The ICIR reported that the NLC decided to embark on a nationwide industrial action against the hike in the cost of fuel and had written to all its affiliate unions to mobilise members and ensure full compliance with the directive.

“Please be informed that the nationwide action will commence on Wednesday, 7th June 2023. To this effect, all National Leadership are expected to mobilise their members for the action and ensure full compliance with the directives as services in both the Public and private sectors are expected to be fully withdrawn by Wednesday, 7th June 2023,” the NLC said in a letter.

Leman, the NUJ secretary, said the CWC decided that although the removal of fuel subsidy would free allocations, the sudden removal could lead to severe hardship and social unrest.

He said the NUJ CWC had directed all state councils to mobilise members to withdraw their services and commence protests nationwide if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNCPL) refuses to reverse the new price regime in the oil sector.

An emergency Central Working Committee meeting of the NUJ was convened virtually on Saturday, June 3, to discuss issues surrounding the decision by the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy and the position taken by the NLC.

“After presentations by the National President, Chris Isiguzo, and the National Treasurer, Bamidele Atunbi, on the position taken by NLC on the matter, members unanimously adopted the position of NLC on the issue.

“CWC reiterates the argument that although the removal of fuel subsidy will free allocations which can be channelled to the provisions of infrastructure and creation of additional jobs, the sudden removal could, however, lead to social unrests and protests as people may perceive government as being insensitive to their plight,” the statement said.

Similarly, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has directed its members nationwide to join the proposed strike.

In a statement by its General Secretary, Isah Gambo, NULGE said it would align with the NLC to stage demonstrations on Wednesday.

“In solidarity with a directive from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in respect of the above subject and total compliance, the National President, Comrade Ambali Akeem Olatunji, has directed that all state chapters, branches and members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) across the 774 Local Governments should be mobilised to embark on a nationwide action and withdrawal of service against the fraudulent increase in the price of fuel across the thirty-six states of the Federation and the FCT.

“Please note that this nationwide action will commence on Wednesday, 7th June 2023.

“All officers of the Union are expected to strictly comply with this directive, give it the widest publicity and ensure total implementation.”

    The ICIR reported that President Bola Tinubu declared that “fuel subsidy is gone” in his inaugural speech Monday, May 29.

    He noted that the subsidy was unsustainable and rising costs could not be justified as resources dwindled.

    “We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in Public infrastructure, education, healthcare and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” Tinubu added.

    The ICIR also reported that with this declaration, fuel queues resurfaced and prices and transportation costs have almost tripled.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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