A coalition of labour and over 80 civil society organisations under the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 And Beyond has vowed to commence nationwide protests against “unprecedented and sharp increases in fuel price and electricity tariff” in the country.
The group said though the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had suspended the planned strike on Monday morning, it will continue to support “protests to achieve the aims of the strike of a reversal of the prices of fuel and electricity.”
ASCAB made this known in a letter signed by its Interim National Chair, Femi Falana, SAN.
The statement dated September 28, 2020, was titled, ‘Government Policies Make The Downtrodden Poorer’. It was addressed to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The letter read in part, “Mr. President, in comparing the burden any past government has heaped on the masses with the agony the masses go through today under your government, the public perception of the effects of public policies under your government is akin to the Biblical verse, which says: “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:14).
“The over 80 subscribing organisations to ASCAB had resolved to support the nationwide strike and mass protests called by organised labour and backed by their rank and file members. Despite the calling off of the strike, ASCAB will still be supporting protests to achieve the aims of the strike of a reversal of the prices of fuel and electricity.”
The group said the regime of the President has failed to fulfil all its electoral promises, adding that the deregulation of petroleum products in Nigeria today is not only “illegal but also unconstitutional.”
It noted, “Mr. President, your electoral promises to the Nigerian people was that the Federal Government under your watch would subsidise production and not importation, that you would make the refineries work and in fact build more refineries so that apart from satisfying domestic demand, your government would also export petroleum products. Unfortunately, your Government has failed to fulfil these electoral promises.
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“Mr. President, as far back as 19th of March 2013, Honourable Justice M. Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division gave Judgment in the case of Bamidele Aturu v Minister of Petroleum Resources & ors. The court declared that the policy of deregulation of petroleum products is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
“We are not aware that the judgment of the Federal High Court has been appealed. Therefore, deregulation of petroleum products in Nigeria today is not only illegal but also unconstitutional.”
“We will continue to support the strike by ASUU for proper funding of the education sector. We will also support the unions in the health sector for proper funding for that sector.
“Finally, will continue to support protests and strikes for the implementation of agreements with the Government in the education and health sectors and for the full implementation of the minimum wage of N30,000 in all states. We will also be campaigning for another increase in the minimum wage next year,” it concluded