From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted that its stance on the removal of petrol subsidies has not changed but has been amplified.
NLC, in a statement signed by its president, Ayuba Wabba, was reacting to an earlier call by Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the campaign spokesperson of the presidential campaign of All Progressive Congress (APC), challenging it to come out clean on its stand on the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi’s decision to remove fuel subsidy if elected next year.
The NLC noted that it has, through a number of painstaking processes been able to articulate a Nigerian Workers’ Charter of Demands which the it and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are using to engage the political process.
It added that the move was in furtherance of the avowed position of the NLC on issues-based campaign in the run up to the 2023 general election.
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“A major demand in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands is that our local public refineries must work. We have also demanded that we must stop 100% importation of refined petroleum products. The NLC and indeed the Labour movement in Nigeria has over many decades been vehemently consistent that the only way to address the issue of the so-called petrol subsidies is to get our refineries to work. The logic is very simple: it is atrocious to buy from abroad at very expensive prices a product that a country like ours can easily produce at home.
“At the heart of our demand on the management of Nigeria’s mineral resources especially our downstream petroleum sub sector is the issue of Production Economy. We believe that the rescue of Nigeria from the current ruinous path of Consumption Economy to Production Economy is the only way to resolve Nigeria’s economic nightmares of massive depletion of scarce foreign exchange reserve; continuous devaluation of the naira; significant jobs haemorrhage and destruction, deepening of poverty and downturn in the living standards of our people.
“In a determined effort to popularise the positions in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands, the NLC and TUC at the behest of the Labour Party on September 12-13, 2022 hosted a National Retreat of the leadership cadres in our movement. At the retreat, the Labour Party and Organised Labour in Nigeria adopted and mainstreamed the Workers Charter of Demands into the Manifesto of the Labour Party. This is in line with our persuasion that issue-based campaign anchored on the manifesto of political parties should drive Nigeria’s political process.
“If any political party goes around saying that they plan to sell our refineries, remove subsidies, and further oppress long-suffering Nigerians, they should be ready to defend such stance to Nigerians at the campaigns. The NLC, Organised Labour, and Labour Party position has not changed. It only got amplified,” the statement read.
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