*To insist on former pump price
By Paul Obi in Abuja
After several days of protest against the federal government over petroleum pump price increment, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Sunday suspended its protest, stating that it will now embrace dialogue.
The move came on the heels of pressure by top All Progressives Congress (APC) members such former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who had fervently opposed deregulation in 2012, on NLC to suspend its opposition to government on subsidy removal and return to negotiation.
The decision to suspend the protest, according to NLC, is also due to calls by several well-meaning Nigerians for labour to consider negotiation as the best option.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who read the communique issued by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union, said it stands by its opposition to deregulation of the downstream oil sector by government.
He said: “After an exhaustive deliberation, NEC noted that its protest action was informed by the twin issues of the unjustified and illegal hike in electricity tariff and increase in the pump price of petroleum product.
“NEC adjudged the protest action to be a success in spite of both internal and external challenges.
“NEC reiterated the correctness of its position on the twin issues of electricity tariff hike and astronomical increase in pump price of PMS and the hardship they portend for the Nigerian masses.
“NEC also acknowledged that the temptation to compare the strike action with that of 2012 could be compelling but that the scenario had changed as both the actors and the terrain were different.”
“NEC said before it embarked on the action, it had anticipated a probable outcome and therefore was not surprised by government’s negative response.
“Nonetheless, it felt fulfilled by having the presence of.mind and courage to identify its mission and fulfilling it, stressing that if a similar situation arises again, it will still rise and stand with the people.
“NEC therefore commended those who took part in the action in one way or the other and reaffirmed its commitment to the struggle.
“The action, it reiterated, was taken in the best interest of the poor and the weak and in drawing government’s attention to the dangers of relying on importation of petroleum products as a sustainable strategy for making available petroleum products. It expressed the belief that in the days ahead time would prove its position right.”
He said: “In consideration of the above, NEC, after due consultation with its constituents, resolved to suspend with immediate effect the action it commenced on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016. The action is hereby suspended.”
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