Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged Nigerians to join the organized worker’s movement to resist any attempt by the federal government to increase prices of petroleum products.
NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, made the call in Lagos at the 5th delegates conference of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria.
He said there is no way organized labour would allow inefficiency of the Nigerian system that past and present governments refused to address, to now be transferred to ordinary Nigerians.
He said increasing the price of petroleum will exacerbate the current bad situation Nigerians are already facing as many cannot even afford one meal per day.
Wabba also said due diligence and transparency should be deployed in committing resources to make sure the refineries are working.
On government claims that it has agreed with labour on total deregulation, Wabba said that “after the meeting with government representatives, we spoke about our position, which is that we cannot continue driving this process of deregulation on the basis of importation.
“Yes, we agreed that the refineries will be revitalized which I think is important. I think the argument is at what cost? Which I think we don’t have the fact to talk about. But on the basis of principle, we support the issue of fixing our refineries.
It is something that labour has been on the table with the government for the past 20 years, to say no we cannot continue to import as the only oil country that is importing refined products.
“We should be able to refine and the principle of fixing the refineries is something we support. The cost is what people have been arguing about that the cost is higher.
“We have said it very clear that we would continue to resist this anti-people and neo-liberal policies that were imposed on Nigeria by Bretton Woods institutions. We said that without mincing words, those are some of the policies that we think have been a reoccurring decimal and have not been able to address our developmental challenges.
Take, for instance, Nigeria as an oil-producing country, we are the only country in the world that imports refined products. And this issue of fuel increase has been on for 20 years, whether in the name of deregulation or price increase.
“There have been the same issue and the argument have been the same and therefore Nigerians cannot bear the additional burden, particularly workers.
We have some of the states that are not even paying the n30,000 minimum wage and in some states, the salary is not even regular.
Do you now want to add salt to injury by now increasing the price of this very important commodity? As we have said clearly, Nigerians and NLC will continue to resist this imposition on us.
I think this period is even more challenging because we are aware many people have lost their jobs, the unemployment statistics are extremely high, the poverty level is something also that cannot be comprehended despite our enormous resources. But we have not been able to utilize these resources for the benefit of all.”
Lagos Shuts All COVID-19 Vaccination Centres
Lagos has closed all COVID-19 vaccination centers across the state, after vaccinating more than a quarter of a million persons, completing the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. That makes Lagos the only state that has inoculated more than 200,000 residents during this period.
Authorities say the first vaccination exercise ended on tuesday and all vaccination centres have been shut down. Lagos State received from the federal government half a million of the nearly four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to Nigeria.
The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, had advised states to stop vaccination after administering half of the doses supplied to them. This is to ensure those who had already received the first dose would be able to get the second jab.
Lagos health commissioner, Professor Akin Abayomi says the remaining doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been reserved at the Lagos State cold chain store for the 2nd dose exercise, starting from late next month.
He urged Lagosians who have already received the first jab to keep their next appointment dates for their second dose at the same health facilities where they got the first jab.
Gunmen Attack Hospital, Kidnap Nurses In Kaduna
Two female nurses have been abducted by gunmen in Kaduna State after an attack in a hospital in north-western part of Nigeria, coming two days after gunmen abducted students and shot dead a member of staff at a private university near the state capital.
According to BBC quoting a nurse who escaped the attack said that the attackers had hurriedly entered the hospital in the village of Idon asking for medical staff.
Thinking it was an emergency, the nurses then rushed out only for the gunmen to fire in the air and seize them.
Kidnappings for ransom by criminal gangs have become common in the country but this is the first time a hospital has been targeted.
Also in another attack, gunmen on motorbikes attacked a village in Zamfara State in what is described as deadly village raids. Residents in Zamfara’s Magami area say they have counted more than 50 corpses. A number of homes have also been burnt down.
Authorities say this is yet another in a series of raids targeting remote villages in Zamfara and other northern states.
A police spokesperson confirmed the attacks but did not give any casualty figures.
A report says the gunmen first attacked the village of Yar-Doka on Wednesday, and several other communities when local vigilantes from neighbouring villages moved in to help.
Some of the victims are said to be displaced persons from previous attacks who were returning home to prepare their farmland for this year’s rainy season.
In recent months, armed criminal gangs have carried out deadly attacks, including targeting schools and kidnapping for ransom. Attackers have reportedly stepped up violence in the region.
Senate Probes Alleged Lopsided Appointments At NHRC
The senate has ordered its committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions, to probe the alleged lopsidedness in the appointments of board members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has requested the senate to advise president Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the commission’s board appointees.
Falana is asking the president to ensure compliance with section 14(3) of the constitution and section 4 of the federal character commission act in the appointments.
Falana’s petition came three weeks after the president sent to the senate and sought its approval of the names of 16 yet to be confirmed nominees appointed to the board and governing council of the commission.
Falana says three of the four nominees representing the north-east are from Kebbi State – including the chairperson of the governing council, Salamatu Suleiman.
He said the south-east and south-south zones have four representatives each while the south west and north-central zones have two representatives each.
He also said the north-east zone has no representative – even as the rate of human rights abuses in the region was higher than any other region in the country because of the counter insurgency operations being prosecuted there.
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