Nigeria’s Increased Petrol Price Cheapest In West Africa, Angry Reactions Unnecessary – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has defended the decision of the government to increase the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.

He attributed the increased amount to the global price of crude oil, saying the “angry reactions” that have greeted the latest petrol price were “unnecessary and totally mischievous”.

Mohammed made the remarks on Monday at a press conference in Abuja on the recent increases in petrol price and electricity tariff.

He explained that with the price of crude creeping up, petrol price was equally bound to increase, hence the latest price of N162 per litre.

The minister, however, believes if the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.

He stressed that despite the recent increase in the price of petrol, that of Nigeria has remained the lowest in the West and Central African sub-regions.

According to Mohammed, petrol is being sold for N211 per litre and N168 per litre in Egypt and Saudi Arabia respectively.

On the hike in electricity tariff, he described the increase as a service-based adjustment by the Distribution Companies (DISCOS).

The minister stated that due to the problems with the largely-privatised electricity industry, the Federal Government has been supporting the sector.

He said while the government has so far spent almost N1.7 trillion, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls and does not have the resources to continue, borrowing to subsidise generation and distribution which have been privatised would be grossly irresponsible.

A fuel station in Lagos sells petrol at N162 per litre.

 

Read the minister’s full remarks at the press briefing below:

TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HON MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, IN ABUJA ON MONDAY, 7 SEPT. 2020 ON THE RECENT INCREASES IN PETROL AND ELECTRICITY PRICES

PROTOCOL

Gentlemen of the press, good afternoon, and thank you for honouring our invitation to this press conference, which we have called to address the recent issues surrounding the price of fuel and electricity tariff.

FUEL PRICES

  1. As you are aware, the long-drawn fuel subsidy regime ended in March 2020, when the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced that it had begun fuel price modulation, in accordance with prevailing market dynamics, and would respond appropriately to any further oil market development.
  2. Recall that the price of fuel then dropped from 145 to 125 Naira per litre, and then to between 121.50 and 123.50 Naira per litre in May. With the low price of crude oil then, the cost of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil, fell, and the lower pump price was passed on to the consumers to enjoy.

With the price of crude inching up, the price of petrol locally is also bound to increase, hence the latest price of 162 Naira per litre. If perchance, the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop, and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.

The angry reactions that have greeted the latest prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are therefore unnecessary and totally mischievous.

  1. Gentlemen, the truth of the matter is that subsidizing fuel is no longer feasible, especially under the prevailing economic conditions in the country.

The government can no longer afford fuel subsidy, as revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. Yet, the government has had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects.

Even though we have acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan, we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.

  1. One of such difficult decisions, which we took at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March – when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown – was the deregulation of the prices of PMS.

As I said earlier, the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. Everyone welcomed the lower fuel price then. Again, the effect of deregulation is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices.

This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover, there will be some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now.

  1. Government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices, because of its many negative consequences. These include a return to the costly subsidy regime. With 60% less revenues today, we cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this Administration.

The days in which Nigerians queue for hours and days just to buy petrol, often at very high prices, are gone for good. Of course, there is also no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, because we just cannot afford it.

  1. Gentlemen, the cost of fuel subsidy is too high and unsustainable. From 2006 to 2019, fuel subsidy gulped 10.413 Trillion Naira. That is an average of 743.8 billion Naira per annum.

According to figures provided by the NNPC, the breakdown of the 14-year subsidy is as follows:

– In 2006       Subsidy was 257bn

– In 2007       Subsidy was 272bn

– In 2008       Subsidy was 631bn

– In 2009       469bn

– In 2010       667bn

– In 2011       2.105tn

– In 2012      1.355tn

– In 2013      1.316tn

– In 2014      1.217tn

– In 2015       654bn

– In 2016       Figure Not Available

– In 2017      Subsidy was 144.3bn

– In 2018      730.86bn

– And in 2019   Subsidy was 595bn

  1. The Federal Government is not unmindful of the pains associated with higher fuel prices at this time. That is why we will continue to seek ways to cushion the pains, especially for the most vulnerable Nigerians.

The government is providing cheaper and more efficient fuel in form of autogas. Also, Government, through the PPPRA, will ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens through arbitrarily hike in pump prices.

And that is why the PPPRA announced the range of prices that must not be exceeded by marketers.

9   In spite of the recent increase in the price of fuel to 162 Naira per litre, petrol prices in Nigeria remain the lowest in the West/Central African sub-regions.

Below is a comparative analysis of petrol prices in the sub-regions (Naira equivalent per litre);

– Nigeria              – 162 Naira per litre

–  Ghana               –  332 Naira per litre

–  Benin                 – 359 Naira per litre

–  Togo                   – 300 Naira per litre

–  Niger                   – 346 Naira per litre

–  Chad                   – 366 Naira per litre

–  Cameroon           – 449 Naira per litre

–  Burkina Faso      –  433 Naira per Litre

–  Mali                     – 476 Naira per litre

– Liberia                 – 257 Naira per litre

– Sierra Leone        – 281 Naira per litre

– Guinea                 – 363 Naira per litre

– Senegal               – 549 Naira per litre

  1. Outside the sub-region, petrol sells for 211 Naira per litre in Egypt and 168 Naira per litre in Saudi Arabia.

You can now see that even with the removal of subsidy, fuel price in Nigeria remains among the cheapest in Africa.

ELECTRICITY TARIFF

  1. Another issue we want to address here today is the recent service-based electricity tariff adjustment by the Distribution Companies or DISCOS.

The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatised electricity industry, the government has been supporting the industry.

To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path.

To borrow just to subsidise generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.

  1. But in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases, the industry regulator, NERC, has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service.

Under this new arrangement, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase.

This is the largest group of customers.

  1. Government has also noted the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process.

NERC will also strictly enforce the capping regulation to ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood. In other words, there will be no more estimated billings.

  1. The government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who are not even connected to electricity at all. As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months.

This alone will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.

  1. Gentlemen, please note that despite the recent service-based tariff review, the cost of electricity in Nigeria is still cheaper or compares favourably with that of many countries in Africa.

COST IN NAIRA PER KWH IN SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES.

– Nigeria            49.75

– Senegal          71.17

– Guinea            41.36

– Sierra Leone   106.02

– Liberia              206.01

– Niger                59.28

– Mali                  88.23

– Burkina Faso    85.09

– Togo                  79.88

CONCLUSION

  1. Gentlemen, the timing of these two necessary adjustments, in the petroleum and power sectors, has raised some concerns among Nigerians. This is a mere coincidence.

First, the deregulation of PMS prices was announced on 18 March 2020, and the price modulation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.

  1. Also, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July 2020 but was put on hold so that further studies and proper arrangements can be made.

Like Mr President said today, at the opening of the Ministerial Retreat, this government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation. We certainly will not inflict hardship on our people.

But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans, brighter and more prosperous days will come soon.

  1. The opportunistic opposition and their allies are playing dirty politics with the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff.

Please note that these naysayers did not complain when the price adjustment led to lower petrol prices on at least two occasions since March.

Nigerians must therefore renounce those who have latched onto the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff review to throw the country into chaos.

19. I thank you all for your kind attention

Northern Groups Condemn Increase In Petrol Price, Electricity Tariff

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

A coalition of northern groups on Friday rejected the recent increase in the ex-depot price of petrol and electricity tariff by the Federal Government.

They are demanding the immediate and unconditional reversal of the new pump price to the initial N145 per litre and electricity tariff to N23, with the assurance of regularity and a higher quantity of supply.

The groups also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the blame game and face the responsibility of his office to offer good governance to the people who voted him to power.

They accused the President of being desperate to shift the blame for the poor economic situation in the country which they described as proof of failure to provide good leadership.

The spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, made the position of the group known at a news conference in Kaduna State.

He said increasing the pump price of petrol at a time when nations were doing more to subsidise costs of essentials in line with citizens’ purchasing power, was highly insensitive, callous and an indication that the Federal Government has lost the courage to assume sole responsibility for the regulation and control of market forces at the detriment of ordinary citizens.

The spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, addressing reporters in Kaduna State on September 4, 2020.

 

According to him, the present administration has been tolerated for too long by the Nigerian masses, even with its purported level of impunity in the dispatch of goods and services which have gravely endangered the peace, unity, and development of the country.

Suleiman stated that the group would not hesitate to mobilise Nigerians for a nationwide protest in the coming days, should the Federal Government fail to reverse the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.

A statement, which was issued at the end of the briefing, read:

Unfolding events around the national economy, security, general cost of survival in Nigeria in the past few days, have once again sparked serious concerns over the direction the country is heading.

In particular, the recent announcement of the Federal Government’s decision to hike the prices of such essentials as petroleum products and electricity have ignited widespread discontent and anger across every segment of the Nigerian society.

Concerned about this mounting national anger, the Coalition of Northern Groups met in Kaduna to review the alarming rise in the cost of living in the face of pervasive poverty and fast-spreading general insecurity of lives and property.

OBSERVATIONS

In light of this development and the unfolding scenario in the country that is pregnant with unforeseen circumstances, the CNG observes as follows:

That whereas the present administration had upon inception identified economic revival and security as major components of the three pillars of its change agenda, its entire national economy and law and order assets appear incapable of arresting an imminent drift towards poverty and the likelihood of the setting in of anarchy.

That the government’s mismanagement of an economy already adjudged in a second recession is characterized by the significant loss of output, massive youth unemployment, a rising level of poverty, instability, and irregular migration of skilled and unskilled labour.

That despite the administration’s claims to fighting a war against corruption, the entrenchment of mediocrity has left the country worse than it was five years ago in the global corruption perception index.

That the present administration had been tolerated for too long even with its level of impunity in the dispatch of goods and services which gravely endanger the peace, unity, and development of the country.

That the administration’s audacious impunity climaxed with hikes in fuel pump prices from an initial N87 to N151.50k per litre; electricity tariff from N22 to N66; and Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5% from 5%.

That these unjustified and unjustifiably indiscriminate increases with concomitant effects on life-sustaining essentials like foodstuff and foreign exchange rates have resulted in the exponential escalation of inflation, despair, crime, and criminality.

OUR STAND

On the basis of the foregone critical observations, the CNG hereby resolves to:

Call on the federal government to announce an immediate and unconditional reversal of the prices of fuel to the earlier N145 per litre and electricity tariff to N23 with the assurance of regularity in quality and quantity of supply, assume full control of commodity pricing, jettison all aspects of unwarranted taxation, halt the current multi-sectoral extortions by multinational service providers, banks and other financial institutions.

Direct all our state chapters to mobilise other civil society and pressure groups in their states and address individual petitions demanding an immediate and unconditional review to their respective state governments or houses of assembly for transmission to the presidency.

CNG national secretariat is to engage the National Assembly, the Federal Government, and all relevant national and international agencies to force a reversal of these imposed harsh realities.

Put the public on the alert for a possible prolonged nationwide resistance in the likely event of government opting to grandstand.

Petrol Now Sells For N150 Per Litre In Benin City

Petrol Now Sells For N150 Per Litre In Benin CitySome independent petroleum marketers in Edo state are now selling petrol for 150 naira per litre instead of the regulated price of 145 naira.

Motorists, as well as petroleum marketers, who spoke to Channels Television in Benin City, the Edo state capital, lamented the increase in the price saying it has brought more hardship on the people.

Meanwhile, some fuel stations in the state did not have products for sale. Some who had the product were selling above the approved price of 145 Naira a litre.

A fuel marketer, Valentine Aisuen, said: “PMS is not readily available in most of the depots and apart from that, the price at which we are buying it is high because of the limited product that is available.

“We are buying at 145, we haulage for three naira and it gets here at 148 and we now sell for 150.”

The marketers who were seen selling at the recommended price said it would not be for long before they join the fray as they were not making profit from their sales.

“If you check our pump price now we still remain at 145 naira per litre, our meter reading is accurate.

“We are keeping that to make sure we remain with our customer but we are going to do it for the time being, pending when the union will come up with their report for us to shut down because the cost of buying now, I don’t think anybody is making profit if you cannot sell above 145 naira per litre.”

Unstable Power

Some motorists also lamented the hardship the increase in price has brought to the people.

A driver told Channels TV: “Passengers complain, drivers too are complaining because things are difficult. We heard they have increased it to 200 naira; this morning some people bought for 150, some others for 200.

“Selling above that 150 is really biting us and things are not moving well. Supposing things are moving on and the power is stable then we can cope. But the power is not stable and the energy we are getting which is the fuel is very high, so it’s biting everyone one of us; we are feeling it real bad.”

Attempts to ascertain the cause of the scarcity at the Benin depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was met with stiff resistance by the chief security officer who denied the news crew access to key officers of the depot.

“I am working under instruction, don’t provoke me this afternoon; I beg you in the name of God don’t provoke me,” he warned.

Although the head of the Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) was not on seat, another official who wished not to be named said that the scarcity was due to power outage at the Warri refinery which has now been addressed.

He promised that the situation would normalize soon.

NBS Releases June Inflation Rate

Bureau Of Statistics, Inflation RateNigeria’s headline inflation increased by 16.5% in June from 15.6% in May, as the rate continues to increase for the fifth consecutive month.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the 0.9% increase is attributed to a rise in energy costs, imported food items and related products.

During the period, the food index rose at a faster rate of 1.4%, month-on-month due to increase in the prices of meat, vegetables and cereals.

While the urban index also jumped 11.9% in June, the corresponding rural index increased from 10.4% to 10.9%.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian stock market’s benchmark index dropped by 25 basis points to 28,733.90, while the market capitalisation fell by 25 billion naira to 9.86 trillion naira against Friday’s figure, as the market reacts to the country’s June inflation data, and financial markets illiquidity.

However, investors’ appetite for stock remained moderate as a total of 315.5 million shares worth 1.72 billion naira were traded in 3,976 deals at the close of session.

Skye Bank topped the lead of the most actively traded stock with a whopping 138.2 million shares followed by FBN Holdings and UBA.

On the price table, Skye Bank was also the major price advancer in a list of ten, with a 10% increase to its share price, followed by Forte Oil and Nigerian Police Microfinance Bank.

And on the flip side, Law Union and Rock Insurance led 23 other decliners including Wapco and Arbico, down by 8.33%.

NLC Will Continue To Negotiate With Government – Ayuba Wabba

NLC, Ayuba WabbaThe Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, says the NLC will continue to negotiate with the Federal Government over its opposition to the hike in the pump price of petrol.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Wabba noted that the tradition of the NLC is to continue to dialogue on issues that it is passionate about, especially the increase in electricity tariff and pump price of petrol.

The labour union, had on Sunday evening suspended an industrial action it called on Wednesday, May 18 to resist the new price of petrol.

This was after an emergency meeting of its organs – the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee, where talks were focused on the strike and the way forward.

There were reports that the suspension of the strike was one of the conditions the Federal Government had given for it to resume negotiations with the NLC but Mr Wabba reiterated that the strike was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly.

He did not give an assurance that all matters would be resolved, but promised that the union would indeed resume negotiations with the government, adding that they would remain consistent in their demands.

“We will go there with open mind to discuss those issues. In the discussion process, we will try to advance a lot of reasons why we think that it should not be only this issue of importation; we can also look at other policy options which we are going to come to the table with,” he said.

Mr Wabba also explained the rationale behind the decision of the labour union to embark on the strike and which they would continue to press for.

“Our standpoint is clear and unambiguous, we believe that it is not sustainable and it will be at a very high cost to continue to over-rely on importation of this product that God has blessed Nigeria with.

“As far back as 2011, we had a documented written agreement with government where they requested for a full-year monitoring period within which to ensure that the issue of importing products will be addressed.

“But here we are, many years down the line we are still at the same point. So, we thought that as NLC we must continue to be consistent and that is the process that actually drove the process of engagement of the NEC and the decision that was taken.”

Mr Wabba stated that as the union resumes negotiations with the government, they would be demanding for a timeline for which the new price hike would be in place as they believe the policy is not sustainable because it is dependent on factors like the foreign exchange rate which is beyond Nigeria’s control.

“We must also agree, like we did in 2011 – documented. When do we think we can be able to move into the next phase of fixing our refineries and also addressing the issue of bunkering and sabotage going on?

“We have realised that what is going on in the oil and gas sector, where most of our facilities are vandalized is because of the fact that it is cheaper and easier and you make quick money when you import and dispose of it.

“Therefore, it is like an incentive to those people that it is cheaper and easier to import product instead of working towards (rebuilding) the refineries,” he said.

Labour Union Ends Strike Called To Resist New Petrol Price

NLC, Strike, PetrolThe Ayuba Wabba faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress has suspended an industrial action called to resist the new price of petrol.

The leader of the union announced the suspension on Sunday.

It came after an emergency meeting of its organs – the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee.

At the meeting, talks were focused on the strike and the way forward.

Mr Wabba said the strike was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Bola Tinubu.


In a statement issued after the meeting, Comrade Wabba said the industrial action was informed by the twin issues of the unjustified and illegal hike in electricity tariff and increase in the pump price of petrol.

The Congress also announced plans to resume negotiations with the Federal Government, with a view to resolving the issues that prompted the strike.

The NLC President added that the Congress would continue to resist wrong legislations, policies and programmes that would impact negatively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

Pump price of petrol was increase from 86.50 Naira to 145 Naira by the Federal Government on May 11.

The 67.6 per cent increase had angered the labour union, with the union saying it was insensitive.

 

NLC Strike Over Petrol Price Hike Enters Day Three

NLC, Strike, PetrolThe ongoing industrial action of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has lingered into the third day, as the labour union insists that the Federal Government must reverse the increase in the price of petrol.

In Osun State, the NLC members, the Joint Action Front and students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile –Ife continued the peaceful protest, urging residents to reject the 145 Naira petrol pump price.

Commercial and other related activities in the ancient town went on as the protesters blocked the popular Lageere Roundabout, causing traffic for few hours whilst the protest lasted.

The workers comprising basically of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Non-Academic Staff Unions of Universities in OAU, moved from the campus to Mayfair roundabout, distributing flyers to motorists and people on the street.

NLC, Strike, Petrol

Leading the protest, the Chairman of ASUU in OAU, Dr. Caleb Aborisahde, told Channels Television that the Federal Government must rescind its decision, else the industrial disharmony would continue indefinitely.

He also urged the Federal Government to build local refineries to make the petroleum product readily available to Nigerians.

In Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State and some parts of the state in southwest Nigeria, the compliance level in the industrial action remained the same.

Human and vehicular activities were in top gear, as residents defied the stay at home order of the labour union.

While monitoring the exercise in Abeokuta, a member of the human rights groups, Yinka Folarin, blamed the Federal Government for allegedly orchestrating the division among the leadership of the organised labour unions.

Meanwhile, the old long queues at fuel stations across the metropolis before the introduction of the current 145 Naira per litre of Premium Motor Spirit popularly called petrol is fast disappearing as residents can now get the commodity at ease.

In Nigeria’s northern region, the NLC Chairman in Plateau State, Jibrin Bancir, and a member of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Steve Aluko, said that the union had continued to monitor proceedings at the state and the federal secretariats where the entrances were locked.NLC, Strike, Osun

However, secondary school students were going about their studies, as the Trade Union Congress were not part of the ongoing strike with only the primary schools under lock and key.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government had directed all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to invoke the provision of “no work no pay” on any staff who is absent from work.

While the Ayuba Waba led faction of the NLC insists on carrying on with the industrial action, the Joe Ajaero led faction had reached an agreement with the government to set up a committee to resolve agitations over the new pump price of petrol.

Kano Workers, Youths Support Subsidy Removal

subsidy removalHundreds of youths and civil servants in Kano State, northwest Nigeria have protested in support of fuel subsidy removal.

While presenting a letter of support to the state’s Head of Service for onward transfer to President Buhari, leader of the youths, Usman Fagge, said that it was shameful and unfortunate that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has called for a strike at a time when Nigerians are celebrating success.

“Where were you when politicians were looting funds meant for our security?” This was the question repeatedly asked by the youths and civil servants.

They carried placards and pamphlets with various messages signifying support to President Buhari and the removal of fuel subsidy.

They expressed belief that the subsidy removal will in no doubt end the suffering of Nigerians, stressing that NLC leadership are being cowards.

Receiving the letter of support for President Buhari, the Kano State Head of Service, Auwal Naiya, told the youths and workers that President Buhari was fully aware of their situation.

While promising government’s commitment to making life better for Nigerians, he said that the removal of fuel subsidy would provide government with the opportunity to alleviate the suffering of Nigeria.

All government agencies in Kano opened for work and market places have also continued to operate.

There has been no report of protest by the NLC anywhere in the state.

The Kano State Police Command said that policemen had been deployed in all the exit and entry routes in Kano State as well as in many strategic areas across the state.

NLC Strike Deepens In Abuja As It Enters Day Two

Ayuba Waba, NLC, Strike, AbujaThe Ayuba Waba-led protest of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja on Thursday gathered more momentum as it enters its second day.

This comes as the Federal Government issued circulars to ministries and parastatals, threatening to enforce the ‘no work no pay’ rule on any government worker who participates in the industrial action.

The protesting labour leaders insisted that they would not be deterred by such directives from the government, as the union and its allies marched through the highways in the Federal Capital Territory.

Waba, who is the President of NLC, urged members of the union and other stakeholders to be willing to make sacrifices for the struggle.

However, some workers complied with the Federal Government’s ‘no work to pay’ warning, as workers at the federal secretariat and the National Hospital resumed work.

The Vice President of NLC, Peter Adeyemi, and a member of a civil society organisation, Jaye Gaskia, said that the number of those who believe in their course would not stop them from achieving success.

It is not yet clear how far the protesting workers are ready to press home their demands.

Negotiation meetings between the workers union and the Federal Government on Tuesday had ended in a deadlock, as the leadership of the NLC under Waba walked out of the meeting.

However, government reached an agreement with another faction of the NLC led by Joe Ajaero, to set up a committee to resolve agitations over the new pump price of petrol.

NLC Strike: Our Group Is Not Being Used – Ajaero

AJaero, NLC StrikeThe factional leader of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Joe Ajaero, has dismissed the allegation that his faction of the union is being used to divide the NLC in order for government to have its way on the new petrol pump price.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Mr Ajaero critized the manner in which the Waba-led faction of the NLC has gone about the dialogue with the federal government over the issue.

He condemned the Waba group for making decisions affecting affiliate unions without consulting the leadership of those unions.

He added that the petroleum workers belong to his group of the NLC and were key players in the issue being debated, and would not have their interests misrepresented.

He admitted that the increase in petrol price was high at 145 Naira but there were different schools of thought, which includes the demand for palliatives, while some felt the President by his credibility deserved some trust.

 

Divided House

Mr Ajaero affirmed that the two factions of the NLC have been in existence since the 2015 election of the Nigeria Labour Congress. Although there have been efforts to reconcile them but these have not been successful.

He said that the decision of the government to negotiate with both factions of the union must have been because the issues at stake required that all stakeholders be involved.

He explained further, “The federal government realised that the issue at stake was petroleum and NUPENG made it clear that the other group cannot represent their interest, this is the NLC they belong to and they sent the invitation across.

“We got there in the spirit of joint leadership and the other group said they were not going to talk. I think we were the ones who carried ourselves to the federal government to show our division.

“Ordinarily if we had a unified position and carried it to the federal government, they would stand by it.”

NLC Strike: Ondo Workers Join Protest, Call For Reversal Of Petrol Price

ondo workersWorkers in Ondo State on Wednesday complied with the directive of a faction of the national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Workers in the south western state abandoned their duty posts to stage a peaceful protest against the decision of the federal government to increase the official pump price of petrol.

The workers trooped out into the major streets of Akure, the State capital, chanting solidarity songs against the fuel price increase.

The usual heavy traffic ‎on the major roads in the city was absent as very few commercial and personal vehicles were plying the roads.

Commercial activities were also reduced drastically as other workers not taking part in the protest stayed indoors.

The labour leaders accused the federal government of not consulting properly with the relevant stakeholders before going ahead to increase the official pump price of petrol.

They, therefore, called for the reversal of the price of the product to the old price of 86 Naira per litre.

Public Schools, Banks Closed As NLC, JAF Protest In Osun

NLC, Strike, OsunResidents in Osogbo, the Osun State capital woke up to traffic gridlock and lull in commercial activities as members of the Nigerian Labour Congress and civil society groups under the  Joint Action Front (JAF) took to the streets.

Chanting solidarity songs, they protested the increase in the price of petrol in compliance with the directive of the NLC.

‎The protesters who mounted a roadblock at the Olaiya roundabout which is the major entry route into the town, also sat on the floor making it impossible for motorists to drive in and out of the state capital.

Back at the state secretariat in Abeere, some labour leaders were on standby preventing workers from gaining entrance into the premises.

Banks ‎and other government parastatals were shut, students of public schools were sent back home, while shops and market places in the town were half open for business activities.

While speaking with journalists during the protest, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Jacob Adekomi, said that the strike would go on as long as the government refuses to yield to their demands.

He noted that as far as they were concerned in Osun State, the strike has been successful.

The Chairman of ASUU in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Dr. Caleb Aborisade, said, “Throughout Nigeria, we held a special congress yesterday and we have all resolved that this strike is indefinite and is total.

“We have resolved to pursue it until Federal Government listens to our voice. If they refuse to listen, we will not surrender too.”