Pressure is mounting on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to review its planned strike against fuel subsidy withdrawal.

Congress resolved at a meeting in Abuja on Friday to call out workers on strike from Wednesday except the Federal Government reverses its decision to stop subsidising fuel prices.

It has already commenced mobilising its affiliates to get ready for the strike.

However, the strike threat has not gone down well with some groups and individuals, including Bayo Onanuga, spokesman for President Bola Tinubu during the campaign, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Prince Adewole Adebayo, the Yoruba Council Worldwide (YCW), social critic Rene Omokri and constitutional lawyer Dr Kayode Ajulo.

Onanuga, in a statement on his Twitter handle, labeled NLC President Joe Ajaero politically tainted and accused him of working to destabilise the newly inaugurated Tinubu administration with the planned strike.

He said Ajaero was “privy to the distressing financial figures which justified why subsidy ought to have been scrapped a long time ago.”

Onanuga asked perceptive workers and the Nigerian populace to “simply ignore Ajaero and his ilk.”

He added: “He (Ajaero) is playing politics and is actually acting the script of the opposition Labour Party, out to destabilise the young Tinubu administration.

“Besides, one wonders whose interest Ajaero is championing when he did not oppose the position of his Labour Party and presidential candidate, who campaigned with the promise to scrap subsidy from Day One if elected.

“NLC and TUC leaders knew since last year November that the subsidy would be scrapped from July 1 as no provision has been made in the budget for it beyond this date.

“The Federal Government, which already commits 96 per cent of its revenue in servicing debt, is not in any position to continue selling subsidised fuel, most of which is smuggled across our borders for criminal and obscenely unpatriotic profit.

“Subsidy of fuel is no longer sustainable as the FG is virtually broke. Apart from its N77 trillion debt, it also owes the NNPC Limited about N2.4 trillion for past subsidies.

“The Nigerian people and workers should support the government as it works out new wages and rolls out other interventions as promised by President Tinubu to mitigate the effects of the new fuel price.

“Let’s not make ourselves pawns in the hands of the politically biased and tainted NLC and TUC.

“Ajaero is no more a labour leader. He is a politician and leader of Labour Party. He is no more representing all the Nigerian workers.”

Omokri to NLC: Your strike is politically partisan

Omokri, an aide to Atiku Abubakar, also took to Twitter to pass a message to the NLC leadership on its planned strike.

In the message which was accompanied with a photograph of Ajaero and the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Candidate Peter Obi at a rally in the run up to the last election, said: “This is a photo of the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress endorsing Peter Obi by providing him a platform during one of their Labour Day activities.

“Was NLC President Joe Ajaero not listening when Peter Obi CLEARLY said he would remove fuel subsidy IMMEDIATELY he was sworn in?

“So, on what basis are he and his National Executive Council members calling for a strike?

“When was Tinubu inaugurated? Less than a week ago. And they want Nigerians to go on strike against a week-old government?

“If they were really concerned about Nigeria, they would be negotiating rather than bellyaching!

“We will unseat Tinubu at the PEPC, by the grace of God. Until then, Nigerians should not allow anyone hoodwink them into joining a politically partisan strike disguised as a patriotic action.”

SDP’s Adebayo knocks NLC over planned strike action

Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Prince Adewole Adebayo, was no less critical of the NLC over its plan to embark on nationwide strike from Wednesday to protest against fuel subsidy removal by the federal government.

Adebayo, while speaking on a television programme, chastised the NLC for “its hypocritical statements and actions.”

Adebayo said Tinubu’s speech reflected his party, APC campaign plans for the country.

According to him, “they said they were going to remove fuel subsidy. We (SDP) thought it was a very bad idea and we debated it all over the country but the three major parties that supported subsidy removal APC, PDP and Labour Party were handsomely rewarded by the voters.

“People like us, the SDP, who said no, cut the corruption because you need social safety net for the people, and the subsidy is a way to control other cost drivers to avoid cost push inflation.

“So try to cut the heavy burden of wastage of corruption, not the subsidy.

“The labour unions protesting now were there when these parties publicly said they would remove subsidy, none of them objected. Why protesting now?

“You didn’t protest against the administration that engineered the process. Why now?”

However, constitutional lawyer Kayode Ajulo advised the NLC to jettison its proposed strike and embrace dialogue with the Federal Government by way of wage review and palliatives for the citizenry.

He said the court has consistently maintained that strike should be the last option, adding that this has always been the trend the world over

Ajulo spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said embarking on strike should not be the first and ultimate options as there were other options that must be explored by the union.

He said the option of always embarking on strike alone would not solve the problem, adding that the NLC when negotiating with federal government should prioritise the upward review of civil servant salaries.

He said: “I am worried that nobody is asking for how they will be paying some allowances to some citizens to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.

“I am equally surprised that labour is not talking about the interest of the worker by paying them some allowances, wage review in line with the fuel subsidy removal.”

He called for provision of other palliatives as well as putting in place some infrastructure to help address the gaps that would be created by the subsidy removal.

“We know that there is always the issue of distrust and dishonesty on the part of some of the leaders, but NLC should exercise patience in this matter and see how the issue can be addressed,” he said.

Ajulo urged NLC to consult far and wide, suggesting that these should be the NLC guiding note for negotiation with the Presidency.

He said civil servants salaries have to be increased and there must be an end to multiple exchange rates.

He further said that statutory benefits and palliatives must be given to the poorest five per cent of Nigerians, adding that the labour should force the government to ensure the nation’s refineries worked.

Ajulo said the ?63 billion meant to pay severance package to former President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other out gone governors should be halted until those measures were implemented.

He said the nation could no longer afford the corruption infected subsidy regime, adding that NLC must think out of the box to avoid heating up the polity.

Strike bid aimed at truncating Tinubu’s govt, says Yoruba council

The umbrella body of Yoruba indigenous people, the Yoruba Council Worldwide (YCW



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