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Subsidy Strike Suspension: FG, labour saved Nigeria from crisis – Mama Diaspora

One of the United Nations Peace Ambassadors, Chief Amina Temitope Ajayi, has lauded the Federal Government under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), for reaching an agreement that caused labour to suspend its planned strike,


Speaking in an interview with journalists on Tuesday, she stated that the Federal Government was proactive in brokering a truce with labour.


She also commended the labour for suspending the planned strike to protest the manner the Federal Government removed subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol or fuel.


Chief Ajayi, said the FG and the organised labour saved Nigeria from another crisis which she said would have aggravated the sufferings of the masses.


She also said that calling off the strike by the organised indicated that the labour unions are law-abiding as the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja division, in its ruling on Monday had restrained NLC and TUC from embarking on the strike.


Chief Ajayi said: “There is great hope Nigerians. Nigerians are wonderful, peace-loving and law-abiding people. I commend the NLC and TUC for suspending the planned indefinite strike which NLC gave notice that was to commence from Wednesday. It is good that they have signed an understanding with the FG.


“That is a mature approach to fighting for the people. Dialogue and negotiations are the trending strategies now. Strike is old-fashioned.


“I know President Bola Tinubu, as a man of integrity and a President who has the interest of the people at heart. He will ensure that the Federal Government delivers its part of the agreement.


“It is a win-win situation. It is a victory for the people. It is a victory for Nigeria. I commend the organised labour and I also commended the FG’s team that worked assiduously and proactively to resolve this impasse.”


NLC, TUC and the Federal Government negotiating team had made some resolutions. The resolution was signed by NLC President, Comrade Joseph Ajaero; TUC President, Comrade Engr Festus Osifo; TUC Secretary, Comrade Nuhu Toro; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollom S. Daju and Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabioamila, who is also the Chief of Staff to the President.


The agreement was titled: “Resolution of engagement between the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Labour Congress, and the Federal Government to resolve the issues associated with the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) on June 5, 2023.


Ajayi had on Monday appealed to the NLC, TUC and their affiliates, to obey the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja division, which barred them from embarking on strike over the removal of petrol subsidy.


The federal government had prayed to the court for an interim injunction stopping the labour unions from embarking on the proposed strike from Wednesday.


The Presiding Judge, Olufunke Anuwe, in her ruling on Monday, directed the unions to halt the planned strike pending the hearing and determination of the ex parte motion filed by the federal government.


She stated that the federal government was able to show that the planned strike is capable of disrupting activities in the health and education sectors.


“The defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 5th June 2023.


“It is ordered that the defendant/respondents be immediately served with the originating processes in this suit, the motion on notice and the order of this court hereby made.


“The motion on notice is hereby fixed for hearing for 19th June 2023. Hearing notices to that effect shall be served on the defendants/respondents along with the other processes.”


In an interview with journalists in Lagos on Monday, Chief Ajayi urged organised labour, as responsible unions, to abide by the ruling of the court.


She also said they should not embark on their proposed strike slated for Wednesday.


She decried that many Nigerians are currently going through pains, adding strike will have a dangerous impact on the Nigerian economy.


She stated that the nation’s economy was fragile and urged labour not to complicate things for Nigerians by embarking on another but avoidable industrial action.


She further begged the organised labour not to cause further economic and social dislocation, to Nigerians, who she noted are currently going through high. cost of living.


She lamented that further strikes will negatively impact on businesses and worsen Nigeria’s economic woes.


Ajayi, who is Chairman/CEO of Silicon Valley Nigeria Economic Development SV-NED Inc said the petrol subsidy had plunged Nigeria into debt and its removal was, therefore, inevitable.


She stated that President Bola Tinubu should be commended for, according to her, taking a bold and audacious step by announcing petrol subsidy removal during his inaugural speech.


According to her, sustaining a petrol subsidy would have plunged Nigeria into a deeper debt trap.


Ajayi, who is also a former President of the All Nigerian American Congress, (ANAC), added that they should, in the interest of all of Nigeria, embrace dialogue and accept the offers from the Federal Government, for an amicable resolution of the impasse caused by the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol or fuel.


According to her, the government should ensure that appropriate programmes and measures are activated to cushion the painful impacts of the removal of petrol subsidy removal.


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