Nigeria’s government and the organised labour agreed one week for consultation over the demand for the reversal of the pump price of petrol, which was hiked arbitrarily within days to nearly N170 per litre.
Those in the meeting from the government side include the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajia Sadiya Farouk; Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; Minister of State (Power), Jeddy Agba; and Minister of State (Petroleum), Timipriye Sylva. There were also the GMD of NNPC, Mele Kyari; the Chairman/CEO, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. James Momoh; and representative of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It was agreed that the government delegation should use the one week to consult with its principals including President Muhammadu Buhari on a possible review of the fuel price increase. The price of petrol was jacked up from N161 per litre to N168 per litre. It is indeed the second time in less than three months that the government is hitting the masses with yet another bill even as Nigerians have continued to suffer harsher economic hardship.
Labour is not happy with the government over the rampant price hike, which they considered unwarranted and a big slap on their coming mid-way into their negotiations with government’ on how to cushion for economic difficulties brought by the earlier increase. The labour leaders, who felt ambushed by the federal government’s action, staged a walkout at the resumed negotiations last Sunday, insisting on reversal of the fuel price increase before talks could continue. But hard as labour tries, the Nigerian public seems to have lost the trust in the unions.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, confirmed this while briefing the media after a meeting between the government side and the organised labour on Thursday night at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja. A statement issued by his Media Office, Ngige said that the message of the labour side at the meeting was very clear that they want the reversal of the recent fuel price increase. According to the minister, the meeting agreed to adjourn for one week to let the government side do all the needed consultations on the matter, which means the meeting will reconvene on December 7.