Nigeria: NLC Urges Government Action Amid Ultimatum

Nigeria: NLC Urges Government Action Amid Ultimatum

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has underscored its reluctance to resort to strikes, emphasizing its primary aim of prompting governmental action. Speaking on behalf of the NLC, Uchenna Ekwe, the Head of International Relations, clarified this stance during an interview on Channels Television, reiterating that strikes are a last resort when governmental obligations remain unfulfilled.

The recent issuance of a 14-day ultimatum by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to the Federal Government highlights the urgency of addressing a 16-point agreement established since October the previous year. According to Ekwe, such ultimatums are a culmination of private communications with the government, serving as public notices only when prior attempts to engage with authorities are disregarded.

Ekwe articulated, “The NLC is actually never interested in a strike; we don’t want a strike; we want the right things to be done.” He emphasized the extensive efforts made to remind the government of its commitments outlined in the agreement, lamenting the inadequate response thus far. Despite repeated reminders, certain aspects of the agreement remain unaddressed, prompting the unions to escalate their demands.

Dismissing accusations of grandstanding, Ekwe affirmed that the NLC has no vested interest in prolonging agitations or protests, as it serves no tangible benefit to workers or the populace. He cited the partial implementation of wage awards and the lack of action by many states as indicators of the government’s failure to uphold its end of the agreement.

Regarding palliative measures following the removal of petrol subsidies, Ekwe expressed disappointment at the lackluster response from most states, with only a few making significant efforts. The disparity in responses underscores the need for consistent and equitable measures to mitigate the impact of policy changes on the populace.

In their joint statement, the leaders of the labour unions, Joe Ajaero and Festus Usifo, expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the agreements, citing a disregard for the welfare and rights of Nigerian workers and citizens.

The ultimatum, set to expire on February 14, 2024, underscores the pressing need for the Federal Government to fulfill its commitments and demonstrate its commitment to the well-being of its citizens.

As the deadline approaches, the nation awaits a decisive response from the government, hoping for a resolution that prioritizes the interests of workers and upholds the principles of good governance and social welfare.

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