NLC: We’ll Not Be Part of FG’s Palliatives Committee

  • FG praises union for suspending strike

Paul Obi in Abuja

Contrary to expectations that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) will promptly join the federal government palliative committee set up to cushion the effect of economic hardship brought about by the recent increase in petrol pump price and electricity tariff, the congress said it would not be part of the committee, citing several factors for distancing itself.

This came as the federal government monday praised the NLC for suspending its five-day-old strike.

There were expectations at the weekend that having suspended its nationwide protest, NLC would quickly make itself available as a strategic member of the palliative committee, geared towards extending succour to Nigerians hit by the ongoing economic crunch since the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration came on board.

But speaking with THISDAY yesterday in Abuja, NLC Secretary General, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said NLC, under the leadership of Ayuba Wabba, will not be part of the committee and discussions centred on palliatives, given the process leading to the setting up of the committee.

Ozo-Eson told THISDAY that “we are not part of the committee; we were not part of the process that sets up the committee.”

Asked if the suspension of the protest excluded NLC joining the palliative committee, Ozo-Eson stated that “if the government wants to talk with NLC, they know what to do.

“We were not part of that process in setting up the committee, so, we will not be part of it.”
He further maintained that “the process leading to the setting of the palliative committee was mismanaged,” therefore, NLC will not be part of it.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who gave the commendation on the sideline of an interactive session with civil society organisations (CSOs) in Lagos yesterday, said the suspension of the strike was a win situation for Nigeria.

“Nigeria has won, and I want to take this opportunity to thank the NLC for reconsidering their position and agreeing to join us in negotiation.

“So, it is not who has won, but (it is) Nigeria that has won.’’
He expressed the federal government‘s commitment to actualising its change agenda through sustained communication between it and Nigerians.

According to him, stakeholders’ meetings will further enhance information flow between government and the citizenry.
“There is nothing like the government continuously engaging the people; you notice that we started this about a month or so ago when we started with our town hall meetings.

“We started in Lagos, moved to Kaduna; we will be in Kano on Friday.
“We have also been meeting with sectoral groups; we’ve met with the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN); we are going to meet with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

“I believe that it is the beginning of trying to bridge the gap between the governed and the government and it is extremely fruitful.

“We’ve heard you, and learnt a lot as well; but more importantly is that we’ve been able to explain to you why certain actions were taken.”
The minister further said that his ministry would hold quarterly meetings with the CSOs in order to engage Nigerians on national issues.

“This is not going to be a one-of engagement.
“The next time we (will) come with three or four ministers, depending on what issues are prevalent.’’