Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Why we suspended the strike – Labour

LEADERS of organized labour in the country have given reasons why the indefinite strike and street protests declared to force the Federal Government revert the pump price of Petrol from N141 per litre to pre-January1, 2012 price of N65 per litre, was suspended after eight days.
Announcing the suspension of the strike at a joint press briefing in Abuja yesterday, leaders of NLC and TUC explained that the strike action forced the government to announce price reduction from N140 to N97 per litre after it had earlier said the price hike was irreversible, while the government has also adopted the policy to reduce cost of governance.

The labour leaders also said following the protests across the country, the government has now made up its mind to move decisively against massive and crippling corruption in the oil sector even as government now saw the need to prosecute economic saboteurs and accelerate the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.

President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC),Abdulwaheed Omar , President Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele and other officials at a press conference to call off strike action in Abuja yesterday. Gbemiga Olamikan

They also explained that street protests and mass rallies were earlier suspended by labour, to save lives and in the interest of national survival.

In a joint statement by Comrades Abdulwaheed Omar and Peter Esele, President of NLC and TUC respectively, labour, said in the past eight days through strikes, mass rallies, shutdown, debates and street protests, Nigerians demonstrated clearly that they could no longer be taken for granted and that sovereignty belonged to them.

 The statement said: “In the last twenty four hours, the Labour Movement and its allies who had the historic responsibility of coordinating these mass actions have had cause to review the various actions and decided that in order to save lives and in the interest of national survival, these mass actions be suspended. We note the major successes Nigerians scored in these past days in which they rose courageously as a people to take their destiny in their hands.”

Giving reasons why the strike was suspended, Labour said: “First, the Federal Government that chorused continuously that its decision to increase petrol (PMS) price to N141 is irreversible and irreducible, was forced to announce a price reduction to N97. We, however, state categorically that this new price was a unilateral one by the Government. Secondly, Government has been made to adopt the policy to drastically reduce the cost of governance.

“A third major success Nigerians recorded is to get the Federal Government to decisively move against the massive and crippling corruption in the oil sector. While until now Government has seemed helpless to tackle corruption, the mass action of the people has compelled it to address accountability issues in the Sector.  In this wise, President Goodluck Jonathan has told the nation that the forensic audit report on the NNPC will be studied and proven acts of corruption will be sanctioned.”

According to the statement, President Jonathan “also promised that accountability issues and current lapses in the oil sector will be speedily addressed including the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). A related success of the mass action by Nigerians is the vow of Government to bring to justice all those who have contributed in one way or another to the economic adversity of the country.

“The Labour Movement commends Nigerians for their resolve to change the country for the better and we shall take advantage of the Government’s invitation to further engage on these issues.  This is in line with Labour’s resolve that the oil industry is too important to be left in the hands of bureaucrats, and that we have the patriotic duty to ensure that Nigerians get the best from this natural resource. The least we owe our compatriots who have become martyrs in the patriotic struggle to reassert our sovereignty and ensure good governance is to remain steadfast and unbowed. Labour reiterates its demand that those who perpetuated violence against unarmed protests should be brought to justice.”

Leaders of NLC and TUC added that “with the experiences of the past eight days, we are sure that no government or institution will take Nigerians for granted again,” and demanded for “the release of all those detained in the course of the strikes, rallies and street protests.”


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