The organised labour has expressed doubt on the sincerity of the interventions President Bola Tinubu rolled out in his national broadcast to Nigerians to cushion the effects of his administration’s policies on the citizens.
The labour vowed to proceed with its planned protest over the removal of petroleum subsidy, saying what he told Nigerians was neither here nor there considering that after spending two months in office, there was no concrete measures to bring immediate succour to the people.
Tinubu had, in his broadcast, said his administration was monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on gasoline prices with a pledge to intervene “if and when necessary.”
But addressing reporters after the resumed meeting of the Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives, held at the State House, Abuja, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, said the plan for workers to proceed on a peaceful protest from tomorrow had not changed.
Ajaero, who dismissed fears that the peaceful protest could be hijacked by hoodlums, said that had never happened in the history of workers’ protest.
He, however, said it was the responsibility of security agencies to provide security for the protest to protect the workers.
He expressed doubts about President Tinubu’s ability to control inflation and gasoline prices due to the unification of the exchange rate.
He said the meeting was adjourned to 12noon today to enable the labour leaders to listen to the president’s national broadcast on Monday.
Reacting to Tinubu’s plan to intervene on exchange rate over inflation and high cost of gasoline prices, Ajaero said: “By the time you have a single market and you are not having anything that has a comparative advantage, your energy is import driven, then how are you going to control it? How are you going to control somebody that exchanged dollars at about 900 (naira)? Are you going to tell him to sell below the price?
“How are you going to tell even NEPA (DisCos) today, with the cost of production not to increase tariff? Even corn in the villages that was sold at N18, 000 by February, now it’s about 56,000. How are you going to control it?”
The Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the government was dealing with the oil cabals that had brought the economy to its knees.
Asked whether the oil cabals were more powerful than the security and government, he said, “Yes they are and that’s what the government is dealing with. First of all, remove the subsidy, that’s the first step.”
The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, pleaded with the organised labour to give the administration little chance to fix the economy. He said President Tinubu inherited a bad economy that he is working hard to fix.