Labour: No Going Back On National Strike, Buhari Inflicting More Pains On Nigerians

By Akanimo Sampson

NLC in a showdown with President Buhari of Nigeria.

As the Buhari administration appears to be deriving joy in inflicting pains on the citizenry, organized labour is vowing that nothing will stop it from a nationwide strike from Wednesday, September 23.

The resolve is coming as the administration has issued a fresh directive asking all account holders in banks, other financial institutions and insurance companies to obtain, complete and submit a self-certification form to their financial institutions.

The administration previously put account holders through a rigorous verification process, which involved the Bank Verification Number (BVN), a unique biometric-based identifier number, and a national identity card.

The notice was sent in a tweet by the federal government official Twitter account @NigeriaGov earlier on Thursday.

The tweet says: “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

 “Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.

“The self-certification form is in three categories: Form for entity – for controlling person (individuals having controlling interest in a legal person, trustee, etc.) – Form for individual. Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions, which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.”

In the mean time, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) says its resolve to embark on a nationwide protest if the Buhari administration fails to reverse the hike in electricity bill, fuel and other decisions cum policies “sinister to Nigerians” is total.

Lagos State Council Secretary of the Congress, Abiodun Aladetan, says all members of state Administrative Committee and State Executive Committee have been notified to mobilise members and act accordingly.

According to him, survival of every worker was significantly dependent on the proposed mass industrial action. He noted that nothing would stop them from fighting against anti -people policies in the country.

“This is to inform all members of TUC, Lagos State Council that in line with the nationwide protest and industrial action declared by the national leadership of TUC after the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government calling for the reversal in the prices of fuel and electricity tariff, all members and affiliates of TUC should, therefore, commence mobilisation in earnest towards ensuring the success of the protest.

“Our survival as workers and Nigerians is heavily dependent on the success of this protest because the gain of the last minimum wage has been eroded. A people united can never be defeated. Solidarity…Forever.”

Already, the Buhari administration is appealing to the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to suspend its nationwide strike, saying it has cost human lives.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, says “let me once again send a strong appeal to all health workers particularly, JOHESU members, that the nation can ill-afford any further disruption to its health systems.

“The ongoing strike has been very costly in terms of human lives but such losses can be avoided. Government shall continue to do its best to push through the negotiations with the unions and hopefully, reason shall prevail.”

According to him, the country’s national response, the use of science, data and experience from other countries, the curve of COVID-19 pandemic was flattening.

Mustapha was speaking at a briefing in Abuja, on Thursday. This is even as the task force marks six months of the country’s national response from March 17 since the PTF was inaugurated.

With the world cases now at 30,026,460, Africa with cumulatively 1,380,223 cases, Nigeria with 56,604 cases, and with India crossing the five million cases mark as at Wednesday, the numbers are reminders that the country’s national response needs to remain top notch, build stronger and more unified global collaborative efforts to overcome the virus.

“Looking back at our National Response, using science, data and experience from other countries, we cannot but say that tremendous progress has been made and that we are beginning to notice that the curve is flattening.

‘’However, as we have always stated, this positive development shall be taken with vigilance and cautious optimism. This is based on the fact that we are convinced that we have not tested enough, we have only recently reopened our international flights and that nations that had opened up their economies have done a re-think following the resurgence of the cases in their countries”, he says.