The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday resolved to go on a one-day warning strike over the state of the nation, especially the increase in electricity tariff and ongoing fuel crisis.
Its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, lamented that the response to the prevailing economic situation by all the tiers of government in the country has been a source of worry for many Nigerians, especially the workers.
In an address to the opening session of the Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of the congress in Abuja yesterday, Wabba said Nigerians are feeling the harsh realities of the economic crises in the country.
Specifically, the NLC president decried the unjustifiable 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff, saying the increase was “illegal, unfair, unjustifiable and a further exploitation of the already exploited Nigerians.”
He pointed out that the due process in the extant laws for such an increment was not followed in consonance with Section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
Wabba said there has not been any significant improvement in service delivery coupled with the fact that most consumers are not metered in accordance with the signed Privatisation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of November 21, 2013 which stipulated that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.
He regretted that despite the national action organised by the congress in the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, which was adjudged successful, the intervention of the National Assembly and especially the Senate President who received the protesters at the National Assembly premises in Abuja, the power firms remained adamant.
According to him, the privatisation of the power sector was done in bad faith and it has become obvious that the investors do not have the capacity to improve power generation and supply in the country.
He said the CWC will agree on a day to embark on the strike, because according to him, several actions promised by the Federal Government to checkmate the tariff increment have not been implemented.
He said: “While the process is on, the tariff increase has remained, and under a worsening power supply situation. Not a few Nigerians are groaning under this burden. Not a few of them look to the Congress for a solution.”
On the issue of fuel scarcity, he pointed out that when the first incident occurred under this government, “we put it to sabotage and urged the government to deal decisively with the saboteurs but with an eye to enhanced local production as an enduring solution. When the second incident happened, we similarly reasoned the same way.
“However, with the latest incident of prolonged scarcity and confession by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources that scarcity will persist till May as he is not a magician, regular scarcity might as well be a familiar feature, and we would do well to brace ourselves for long spells, except government does the needful.
“We must however make the point that spells of scarcity will not be acceptable to Labour and other Nigerians because the human and economic costs are unimaginable.”