By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has rejected last Sunday’s agreement reached between organized labour and the federal government to suspend the planned protest against the increase in fuel price and electricity tariff.
It said that as far as it is concerned, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) no longer have the capacity to represent the interest of the Nigerian people.
In a statement issued Tuesday by its National Secretary, Chief Peter Ameh, CUPP said that NLC and TUC cannot claim to be unaware of the suffocating and life threatening suffering being experienced by Nigerians as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also said Labour is aware that government’s arbitrary increase in the price of petrol per litre and the cost of electricity tariff per unit simultaneously without any soft landing measures to cushion the effect of such increase on the masses has worsened the situation.
“NLC and TUC don’t need to be told that fuel price increase must have a diverse range of effects on transportation and commodities, etc in fact including productivity.
“We reject the action of NLC and TUC and both labour centres must reinvent themselves and start to act in the interest of Nigerians who need them at a time like this,” it said.
CUPP said it still stands with the people on their demand for the reversal of the increases in the pump price of PMS and electricity tariff.
According to CUPP, the timing of the deregulation policy was not right especially when the Covid-19 pandemic has depleted the take home pay of the man on the street.
“When NLC and TUC came out about two weeks ago threatening fire and brimstone over the recent increases in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) and electricity tariff, many Nigerians were very sceptical about their will power to carry out the strike because of how unprotective of the masses the current leadership of both NLC and TUC have been since it came on board.
“NLC and TUC should know that the ordinary man on the street has lost confidence, trust, and faith in their ability to actually speak or act for them.
“CUPP believes that NLC and TUC do not have the capacity to represent the interest of the Nigerian people and as such have no answer to these questions,” it said.
The opposition group said the masses must develop the will to speak for themselves on these matters that are meant to enslave and imprison their conscience and destinies.
It said if the NLC/TUC meant well for the people, they would have insisted on using the two weeks as opportunity for people to protest and voice out their grievances for the rulers to hear and know how to mend their ways rather than use the two weeks to silence the people and devise ways to deceive Nigerians as usual.
According to CUPP, “There are questions that NLC and TUC must answer: can any worker earning minimum wage of N30,000:00k afford to cope with hardship and difficulties heaped upon him/her as a result of these increases?
“What has changed from the day NLC and TUC made a public announcement to embark on the strike action, how different is the promise of the current government from the promises made by the previous ones?”