By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Less than 24 hours today’s planned nationwide strike and mass protest by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), 16 Northern based Civil Society Groups (CSOs) under aegis of Coalition of Arewa Civil Society Organisations have pulled out on grounds that the indefinite strike action will damage the fragile economy and cause more hardship to the ordinary citizens.
The NLC had given the federal government a seven-day ultimatum with threats of a nationwide strike scheduled to commence on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 and directed all its affiliates and Civil Society Groups across 36 states of the federation to mobilisation workers and Nigerians for a long-lasting strike should the government fail to meet its demands.
Earlier, NLC in a statement signed by its National President, Joe Ajaero, accused the Tinubu-led Federal Government of failing to meet up with the demands it presented to it following the removal of the subsidy on petrol
“But after critical study of the disadvantages and overall consequences on the masses , we decided to pull out immediately and asked the labour unions and federal government to rather embrace dialogue.” The CSOs said.
The decision to pull out contained in a statement jointly signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Arewa Coalition, Comrade Ibraheem Suleman Dogo and Comrade Friday Luka Dalung was basically because, the planned strike action is not the best way to resolve problems emerging from current harsh economic conditions caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
Adding that the strike would also cripple the country as movement would be severely curtailed with markets, schools and healthcare facilities forced to shut down.
The statement further reads, “We can’t afford to go back to the days, when the federal government use monies meant for development of public infrastructure; education, health care and jobs for payment of subsidy to rich marketers.
“We can’t also continue to feed smugglers and act as ‘Father Christmas’ to neighbouring countries.
“It is for these reasons we recommend for dialogue and more robust discussion on the matters arising from fuel subsidy removal .
“It would be recalled that President Tinubu, while addressing Nigerians on June 12 Democracy Day commemoration, said he came to the decision in order to free the country’s resources from the stranglehold of unpatriotic elements.
“We expect the labour unions and relevant stakeholders to look beyond the harsh Policies now and consider the future of a sustainable economy that will bring about overall development across all sphere of life .
“However, between now and tomorrow, Wednesday, August 2, we urge the Federal Government to invite representatives of the organised labour in an effort to stop the nationwide strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress.”