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NLC Protests: Labour’s Demands Are Legitimate, But There Is A Lack Of Coordination, Says Shehu Sani

He bemoaned the fact there’s no minister to be held responsible for negotiations.

Shehu Sani, a former Nigerian Senator, has said that although the demands of the organised labour are legitimate, and the government is trying to find solutions to their demands, there is a gap in coordination which has made the situation more complicated than it should be.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, Sani spoke about the Organized Labour Congress and the government due to the sudden removal of fuel subsidy without the provision of any palliatives as he said, “From my own understanding. The contention is about the removal of subsidy and the consequences of that removal.”

The Former Senator then explained that although both sides had come to an agreement on the removal of fuel subsidy, other issues had arisen to delay the negotiations, saying, “Where the problem comes in is on the implementation of palliative measures and actions that need to be taken to alleviate all of those consequences as a result of this removal.

“And from what I know, that there were dialogues and negotiations between government and labour. But for the fact that the government is just coming to office and you cannot pinpoint a minister that will be held responsible.”

Shedding light and expressing his opinion on these issues, Sani said, “Well, the demands of labour are legitimate and I from my own understanding have not seen the government directly object to the demands of labour. But where you have a communication gap, is lack of coordination. 

“For example, when you talk of increase in wages, I have read somewhere where the government has said they will increase wages. When you talk of refineries. I have read many times where the GMD of NNPC has made pledges that they are working on that. 

“But the problem is that there are short times that things can be done. Like, repair of refineries cannot be done within 24 hours, one month, two months or five months. These are structures that have been abandoned for many years. And many of them have been vandalised that will take time. And if we say we have to put the refineries in order before we will take any action, I think it will take almost 70% of the period of this administration. 

“So when you have a team set up, now, all these demands can be put on the table. I said, these are the things we can achieve immediately, like increase in wages, we can achieve them. And then secondly, providing finance for conversion of our vehicles from petroleum to gas. And then, the next has to do with direct financial support for Nigerians.” 

Sani then advised that the ministry for labour be set up in order to make for better communication between the government and the Nigerian Labour Congress. He said, “What labour are demanding, is right. But also, what the government is saying, they will implement then, where is the problem? I think the problem is that there is virtually no platform for these issues to be addressed, and I think this is a challenge to President Bola Tinubu.

“So, I believe that the demands are all achievable. The only thing is somebody needs to facilitate and articulate these and it can only be done when the government is fully formed.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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