Closed-door negotiations between Federal Government and Labour leaders have ended in a stalemate, with labour organisations turning down government’s latest N120/litre offer.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, speaking to journalists at a protest venue in Abuja that the labour delegation to the meeting Thursday turned down the deal from the government because the mandate of the people is to come down to N65/litre.
Speaking on Channels Televsion, the labour leader said “all of us are trying to shift ground and that is why we are having this meeting,” but added that with no conclusion reached and the meeting ending on a deadlock, “the strike action is set to continue”.
Today, protests around the nation ended earlier than usual, giving Muslim protesters the chance to say their Friday prayers and protesters in general a repreive for the weekend.
Civil society groups and labour unions promise to hit the streets once again on Monday, should the government fail to heed their demands and revert fuel prices.
So far the Federal Government has ignored calls from a vast majority of the Nigerian public to reverse the fuel subsidy removal decision, and turned a deaf ear to the House of Representatives’ motion that the subsidy removal be suspended.
The government insists that subsidy removal is for the masses, with President Jonathan saying over and again that the $8bn a year saved by taking this “bold step” will be funneled in to public projects that will benefit the masses.
However, wary Nigerians have called on government to cut corruption first, before the subsidy.
Former Labour President and present Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole says the discussion between Federal Government and Labour is a step in the right direction and is hopeful results will come with time.
“The issues are not so easy that anyone will think they will be resolved quickly,” Oshiomhole said after the meeting, adding that it is “progress that both sides are meeting at all”.
Protesters have vowed to return to the streets on Monday, should government insist on higher fuel prices.
Furthermore, PENGASSAN has threatened that oil workers will join the protests on Sunday, shutting down the oil production of Africa’s largest crude producer.
Nigeria produces some 2.4 million barrels of crude per day, a shut down in this sector will have serious consequences in the nation’s economy, but the association of oil sector workers says they are willing to risk the pain to stand against government’s policy.