By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Coalition of Northern Groups, (CNG), has condemned the Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC), and Trade Union Congress, (TUC) for betraying Nigerians by the suspension of a planned mass action on September 28, 2020 against the hike in electricity and fuel pump prices.
The group stated this at a press conference held in Kaduna on Tuesday, September 29, 2020; noting that Nigeria today lacks leaders who can lead her people to the Promised Land, rather they impoverished the people, fight each other, and continue to manipulate people during elections.
Spokesperson of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said after sufficiently mobilizing Nigerians, NLC and TUC surprisingly announced a 2-week suspension ostensibly following an agreement at a meeting with government officials on the eve of the planned action.
According to him, the labour leaders had agreed that the hike electricity tariff be suspended for 2 weeks, while the new fuel pump price remains unchanged at the expense of the majority of toiling Nigerians.
Suleiman stated further that the package reached at by the labour leaders and the Federal Government merely offers temporary relief to a minor section of the population with the vast majority condemned to suffer the hash realities perpetually, as prohibitive fuel prices inadvertently reflect on other commodities.
“The agreement reflected the concentration of negotiation on only the electricity tariff which was just one demand out of many concerns raised by Nigerians such as exploitative taxation, insecurity, infrastructural decay, massive unemployment and poverty.
“Even at that, no representation was made about the existing wide discrepancy between the electricity tariffs obtainable in the North, and those in the Southern parts.
“The entire palliative package does not reflect the overall interest of the mass of suffering Nigerians outside the fold of the NLC and TUC which collectively accounts for only about 0.5 per cent of the total national population.
“This capitulation by the labour leadership signals the need for the formation of an alternative unified, more confident, and consistent national front for undertaking further autonomous actions outside the workers’ unions,” he said.
In view of above, CNG said the Federal Government of Nigeria can no longer be trusted with its consistently inconsistent promises for the reactivation of the refineries since inception, therefore declares its stand as follows:
“Demand the unification of the electricity tariffs between the North and the South which must also be affordable.
“Reject the agreement reached by Nigerian Labour leaders and the Federal Government in its totality, as it does not address the major grievances of Nigerians, nor reflect the interest of the vast majority of the population
“To liase with other credible sections of the civil society to work for the creation of a stronger alternative, or parallel platforms for pursuing national grievances.
“To publicly condemn the labour union leaders for betraying the trust of the public by compromising the expectations of the general population of Nigerians,” the group further stated.
The group also directed all its state chapters to intensify outreach with all sections of the civil society, credible nongovernmental organizations and prepare every significant component of the northern society for a massive protest on a date to be announced soon, to force the reversal of this, and all other harsh economic policies pursued by the government.