The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has disclosed that based on congresses’ mandate of ensuring workers’ welfare and justice, the option of flagging off another political party was on the table, if the Labour Party was proving difficult to reposition. Also, the organised labour said millions of Nigerians have been turned into refugees in the country, and many others prisoners in their homes, as a result of insecurity challenges, which have been deteriorating in the past two years.
President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, made this known in a text titled, ‘Demanding Answers at Unusual Times,’ during its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting yesterday in Abuja. On the formation of a new political party, Wabba said; “We have the numbers to make an impressionable dent on the political system in our country.
The task of organising politically is one we all must embrace. “I urge us to continue to support the efforts of the leadership of congress, in line with the marching mandate of the 12th National Delegates Conference of the NLC to recover and reposition the Labour Party or form a new workers’ party that would serve as the political vehicle for the mass of Nigerian workers and millions of downtrodden Nigerians, who are desperately in need of true change.”
Raising concerns over the failure of the present administration to address the increasing atrocities perpetrated by herdsmen and other violent groups, the NLC President said many had resorted to selfhelp to ensure the safety of their lives, families and properties.
He said: “Our beloved country has never been enmeshed in the grip of insecurity turbulence and crisis as we witness today. In the past two years or so, we have witnessed an intense resurgence of terrorism, banditry, kidnap-for- ransom, militancy and resource conflicts all over the country.
“There is also the challenge of criminals who hide under the camouflage of pastoralists to commit all sorts of crime against Nigerians. The mindless bloodshed and misery that our current state of insecurity unleashes, point to a serious breakdown in governance.
“There is no day in Nigeria that one form of violent crime or another is not reported. Many Nigerian citizens have been forced by the large scale spread of rural and urban violence to abandon their homes. “Millions of Nigerians have become refugees in their own land. Many Nigerians yet to flee their homes have literarily become prisoners in their own homes as criminals have forced us into a state of perpetual tension and apprehension. Kidnap for ransom has been elevated to the status of jungle enterprise.
The crime of kidnapping has become a no respecter of persons as the low and mighty are all vulnerable. Workers are also victims. Many of us no longer feel safe both at work and home. “Perhaps, even more worrisome is the cataclysmic path that the current state of insecurity in Nigeria leads to.
In response to the absence of a firm state response to the persistent confrontations between herdsmen and farmers,many Nigerians are beginning to resort to self-help. “The tunes, discordance, reactions and counterreactions from these informal frequencies have constituted in themselves new grand threats to the security, stability and sustainability of the Nigerian project. We cannot fold our hands and watch Nigerians engage themselves in ethnoreligious squabbles.”
While noting that the dangers posed by the breakdown in law and order were too significant to ignore, he advised the new Service Chiefs to identify and correct the lapses of their predecessors and ensure they have a new verve of zeal and commitment in the war against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, communal unrests and clashes. “We must never get to that point where we surrender the initiative and paraphernalia of sovereignty to autonomous State actors and to forces of State capture,” he noted. On the persistent increase in electricity tariff, Wabba accused the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) of sabotaging Federal Government’s move to provide meters to Nigerians on a large scale, by hoarding the meters and making them available at exorbitant prices.
He said: “It is clear that the factors fuelling incessant hike in electricity tariff such as the dollarisation of gas used by GenCos to run our power stations are issues that government can control. “As we speak, the promise by government to force DisCos to mass deploy meters to electricity consumers has been poorly pursued as these meters are still hoarded by DisCos and sold at exorbitant rates to frustrated consumers. The implication of this for productivity, employment and stability are huge.”
While noting that the failure of past and the present government to revamp the domestic refineries was causing increased hardship for Nigerians, he said the insistence of the government to use the Import Parity Prices to calculate the landing cost of petrol and other refined petroleum products only made matters worse. According to him, “Our resistance against the subjection of our people to chains of hardship and suffering will be a long one. It is a marathon. We must be ready to give it our best shot. Our position has never changed.
“We insist that the resuscitation of our refineries and the overhauling of the entire value chain in our downstream petroleum sub-sector are the only sustainable ways to halt the embarrassing mass importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria and the high price volatility that comes with it. Refining crude oil is no longer rocket science. We demand that our public refineries must work. Is this too much to ask?” Wabba, who urged defaulting state Governors and employers in the public sector to implement the N30,000 national minimum wage, proposed special penalties and the use of law courts against all violators.
Source: New Telegraph