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Subsidy: Labour intensifies mobilisation for protests

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The Organised Labour has intensified consultations ahead of its Thursday nationwide rallies against the proposed removal of petroleum products subsidy, The Nations

Its Deputy President, Joe Ajaero, told The Nation at the weekend that letters had been sent to heads of the over 50 affiliates and state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) asking them to host strategic meetings today on how to make the rallies successful.

He also said leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in support of the protests had been briefed on the activities planned for that day.

But the Federal Government last night faulted the planned rallies because it was yet to take a final decision on subsidy.

The National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had recommended an increase in the pump price of fuel from N162.50 to N302 per litre.

The recommendation followed the report of a NEC ad-hoc committee interfacing with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the appropriate pricing of petroleum products in the country.

Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule had, after Wednesday’s NEC meeting in Abuja, announced that the Federal Government would stop petroleum products subsidy payments in June 2022.

Sule clarified that governors, who are members of NEC, have no role to play in determining the prices of petroleum products.

He added that with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in place, the decision on the new price regime belonged to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) Limited.

In the interview with The Nation, Ajaero explained that the rallies which will have civil servants and others participating were to sensitise Nigerians on the implications of subsidy removal.

He said: “Nothing stops the rally planned for this week; whether they are removing it (subsidy) tomorrow or next year. The thought of it is not acceptable.

“Mobilisation is high in all the states. We need to sensitise Nigerians. We are through synergy meetings with civil society groups. We are going to states to mobilise workers, civil servants and other Nigerians.

“There is a letter to every person; every affiliate because they took a decision at the National Executive Council meeting. Letters have been sent to state councils on the mode of operation.

“Letters have also been sent to all the people that will coordinate each state who are coming from the National Administrative Council.

“Labour has been delegated to go to the field from Monday (today) to start holding consultative and preparatory meetings ahead of the protests.

“Civil society groups would go back to their cells and take decisions on how they want to participate.”

But Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige faulted the rallies, saying the government will not stop it from holding.

He described the rallies as unnecessary given the fact the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which according to him, has the final say on whether or not subsidy should be removed, has yet to decide.

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