NLC Strike: Three Months After Subsidy Removal, FG Has Broken Promises Thrice; Nobody Can Blame Us, Says Ajaero
President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, has said since negotiations with the government have proven unsuccessful, the alternative course of action is to take the matter to the court of public opinion.
During an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, Ajaero stated the NLC’s belief that the government is not giving due consideration to its discussions with the NLC.
He said, ““Part of our policies, part of our structure permits us to negotiate even if at the last minute, and we have attempted that twice, and we can now say, convincingly, that the people we are dealing with are not serious.
“This is now in the court of public opinion, that in all those occasions, they have asked for time to do something, they have failed to do something.”
He mentioned that there have been no developments since the previous encounter with the federal government, which is why the organisation has returned “back to the drawing board.”
“Three months after the removal of fuel subsidies, and the government has broken promises three times, I think nobody can blame us,” Ajaero added.
He emphasised the NLC’s planned objectives that met a dead end with the government regarding palliative measures, expressing that the Labor group approached the negotiation with the expectation of a sustainable wage increase and not “give me today and don’t give me tomorrow.”
“Labour came to the table that we can have an alternative energy source, the CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), which is available in the country, and that the government can even get buses driven by CNG,” he said, “if you bring buses driven by CNG, the cost of transportation will reduce.
“When the cost of transportation reduces, everyday, somebody goes out and comes back, he has the capacity to save N1000.
“Those that use private vehicles, if you fill your tank with N40,000, you can now fill your tank with less than N20,000, and you will have savings in your pocket.
“Those are the alternatives we are looking at. Those are the kind of palliatives we are looking at.”
The presidential special adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, had earlier revealed that the CNG initiative aims to mitigate the effects of fuel subsidy removal on the population by lowering energy expenses.
He also mentioned that the program, anticipated to bring about a significant transformation in the country’s transportation sector, aims to introduce more than 11,500 new vehicles powered by CNG. Additionally, it encompasses 55,000 CNG conversion kits for vehicles that currently rely on premium motor spirit (PMS).
Ajaero, however, said that the government doesn’t have anything on ground regarding the use of CNG, questioning, “Does it take rocket science for you to go into CNG?”
He stated that the primary purpose of individuals serving in government, whether through appointment or election, is to promote the well-being of the public and enhance the quality of life.
Likewise, he emphasised that the NLC’s duty is to engage in constructive social dialogues aimed at addressing societal issues whenever necessary, however, if someone chooses to act without consideration or arbitrarily, it hinders the possibility of meaningful engagement.
He further commented on FCT Minister Nyesom Wike’s plan to revive the master plan of Abuja, saying that his pronouncement of demolition has no “master plan for the masses.”
“When people assume office, they meet various stakeholders, and they chart the way forward. If the first day you’re resuming office you’re demolishing houses, you had those plans before you resumed,” he said.