Leaders of Nigerian labour unions on Sunday, November 22, walked out from a meeting with the federal government barely five minutes after it started.
In his opening remark at the meeting, President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye noted that the issues surrounding the hike in the price of fuel and electricity tariffs were on the meeting’s top agenda.
Olaleye accused the federal government of dishonesty, playing to the gallery and painting the organised labour in a bad light before civil servants and the public.
He said; “Government is showing a high level of insincerity in discussions with us and is also putting us at risk with the people we are leading — with the masses. We find it difficult to move freely, but the people in government are moving freely. “This meeting is not going to be as usual. Why, because we have seen the insincerity of government and it’s putting us at risk. They are taking us for a ride, which cannot continue. “We are in the process of discussing, for over three months now. And they made announcement increasing the fuel price again. And no other person than NNPC. When has authority been giving to NNPC to increase the price of PMS? This is unacceptable. “The meeting agenda is not well prioritised. And because of that, we are leaving the meeting. We will not continue, we will go back to our organ, and we are going to get back to you on the next line of action.”
While the Nigerian Labour Congress was represented by its deputy president Najeem Yasin, top officials who represented the federal government were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timiprye Sylva, Minister of state for power, Goddy Agba and the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha.
Speaking after the walkout, Channels Television reported that Ngige said;
“We felt that the item of increase in PMS, having been listed at all as an additional item, would have satisfied everybody.”