Artificial fuel scarcity : Labour threatens to picket filling stations

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to picket filling stations across the country over hoarding and creation of artificial petrol scarcity.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning at end of an emergency (virtual) meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the congress on Tuesday in Abuja.

Wabba said NEC had condemned the current hoarding and artificial scarcity of petrol by marketers in major cities.
He said that NEC lamented the great hardship the situation was imposing on an already suffering and traumatised Nigerian workforce and people.

Wabba said that Nigerians were being punished and impoverished to satisfy the greed of a few marketers of refined petroleum products.

“NEC called on relevant regulatory agencies of government to rise up to the protection of the interests of the majority of Nigerians from the exploitative hands of market forces.

“These market forces are bent on making maximal profits from the sufferings of fellow citizens.

“The NEC also warned that should the current artificial scarcity persist that the various leadership structures of the NLC should picket petrol stations found to be inflicting pains on Nigerians,” he said.

Wabba also said the attention of the entire working class in Nigeria had been drawn to a bill which was listed in the House of Representatives as HB 950.

He said the bill, which was sponsored by Mr Garba Datti of Sabon Gari Federal Constituency, Kaduna State had passed the first and second reading in February.
He noted that the NEC considered Datti as only a hireling in the plot by his sponsors to disorient, injure, and exterminate Nigeria’s working class.

“Any attempt to move the National Minimum Wage from Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent Legislative List will make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations.

“NEC resolved that if the National Assembly give credence to a Bill seeking movement of the minimum wage from the Executive Legislative list, to Concurrent Legislative list, workers may embark on strike,” he said.

Wabba noted that any attempt to move the minimum wage was an attempt to plunge the country into chaos and make Nigeria a laughing stock in the international community, as minimum wage was a global standard.

He added that the major reason behind the call to move the minimum wage to the Concurrent Legislative list was to enable states negotiate and fix their minimum wage.

He said that the National Minimum Wage was a global standard adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through Convention 26 which was ratified by Nigeria on June 16, 1961.

He, therefore, said that Nigeria as a Sovereign gave effect to the National Minimum Wage by putting it in the Exclusive Legislative List.

He also said the NEC called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow fifth columnists masquerading as politicians to derail his government by railroading the legislature into removing national minimum wage from the exclusive to the concurrent list.

Wabba also said NEC rejected in its totality, a bill with the number HB. 1062 sponsored by Mr Abbas Tajudeen representing Zaria Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.

The bill he said was seeking a constitutional amendment to allow for establishment of State Judicial Councils.

“The NEC submitted that the passage of the bill would occasion a further exacerbation of the institutional crisis in our country, constitute an existential threat to our democratic experience and greatly imperil the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“The NEC also reasoned that given the heterogenous nature of Nigeria in terms of culture, religion, and ethnicity, it would be difficult if not impossible to manage the fallout from the decentralisation of our judiciary,” he said.

He added that NEC after a careful consideration of the issues on their implications to the working-class, decided that there will be a national protest.

He said the action would commence from the March 10 in the Federal Capital Territory to the National Assembly.

“The protest is to make a strong statement that Nigerian workers would not lie low and watch hard fought rights which are of global standards bastardised by opportunistic and narrow thinking politicians.

“The NEC resolved that the national protest action will be concurrently held in all the 36 states of the federation and to the different State Houses of Assembly across Nigeria,” he said.

NEC resolved that all the resolutions and decisions adopted at the emergency meeting should be pursued in collaboration with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the overall interest of all Nigerian workers,” he said (NAN)

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