By Akanimo Sampson
Governors of the 36 states of the federation will be having an emergency meeting this Thursday in a seeming desperate bid to abort a nationwide strike action by organised labour billed to commence on Monday.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has been talking tough on the matter, insisting that the mother of all protests will kick-off on September 28, 2020.
Similarly, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in a statement titled: “Fuel, Electricity Tariff Hike: Update on Strike”, resolved to work in collaboration with NLC and the civil society allies to execute the strike.
TUC says it took the decision after an exhaustive meeting held to review its mobilisation strategies on the forthcoming strike to protest fuel hike and electricity tariff.
NLC had declared nationwide strike and protest beginning from Monday, after the President Muhammadu Buhari administration failed to revert the hike in fuel and electricity tariff in the country.
However, a statement by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday said the meeting will hold by 6.00pm this Thursday.
Head of the Forum’s Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo,says the agenda of the meeting is to mediate in the dispute between the Federal Government and the labour in a bid to avert the strike.
The meeting will be held virtually, as the governors will join the meeting from their homes or offices.
The Buhari administration had hiked the price of PMS to N160 per litre and increased electricity tariff by over 100 percent.
A meeting between NLC and the government last week was deadlock as the government refused to shift position.
TUC President, Quardri Olaleye, said: “Consequent upon this, the ultimatum which should expire by midnight of Monday, September 22, 2020, has been shifted to September 28, 2020, for effective and maximum effect.
“We want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector, to bear with us while the industrial action lasts. There is no need for the pains we bear. It is a needless one.
“They ask us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs. Services are not rendered yet we are compelled to pay estimated bills. We were told during their campaign that they will build refineries all that are history now. We run a mono-economy and any hike in fuel automatically will have an adverse effect on us yet successive governments tow that path because they are not creative.”
The Buhari administration had recently hike the prices of fuel to N160 per litre, signifying full deregulation of fuel price regime which will now be controlled by forces of supply and demand at the international market.
The government also hiked electricity tariff by over 100 percent.
After its National Executive Council meeting, NLC National President, Ayuba Wabba, said there was no going back on the massive protest as the government had refused to accede to labour’s demand.
According to him, all Chairmen of NLC in the 36 states of the federation had agreed that the protest should go on to force the government to reverse the unwarranted hike.