Nigerians deserve pity. We live as if we are created to suffer. But God didn’t create Nigerians to suffer, reason our geographical location is blessed with immense minerals of varied extractions. Apart from the few resources left locked inside earth that we are exploring and making fortunes out of them, there are uncountable others that we have not explored. There has been no time in the history of Nigeria that Nigerians have respite from poverty and acute sufferings. It’s always outcries of ‘things are hard and harsh, this time is harsh’!
Nigerian Labour also deserves pity. They have been in the forefront of fighting for the interest of Nigerian workers despite that they suffered untold armtwisting and persecution from successive governments. Security agents, acting on the instructions of governments prevented the labour from exercising fundamental rights to protest, arresting and detaining them.
Tomorrow, Nigerian Labour is poised for another strike to protest against the recent hikes in fuel price and electricity tariffs. Given the current soaring prices of commodities under which Nigerians are groaning, every Nigerian must find the proposed strike justifiable. However, the labour must temper their anger against the perceived injustice to Nigerians with a consideration not to plunge Nigerians into more biting sufferings after the excruciating experience of Covid-19 challenges, as well as the hikes in fuel price and electricity tariffs, from which rumbles national and local economies are crawling out to breathe fresh air.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had, in the past, when almost all the states in the country were owing salaries, given funds to bail them out with strict instructions that the funds must be spent to offset backlog of salaries. The Labour was not known to appreciate the saving efforts of the federal government then. There’s also the issue of the minimum wage of 30,000 naira which the federal government approved and which payment is being made possible from the funds realised from fuel subsidy that was removed by President Buhari. Therefore, the hikes in fuel price and electricity tariffs were as a result of subsidy that has been removed from fuel and a clause in the agreement in the privatisation transactions of distribution section of power sector that tariffs must be reviewed periodically.
This is therefore an appeal to the Labour to shelve the planned protest slated to begin tomorrow. This is essential so as not to plunge Nigerians into another round of impoverishment. The Labour should continue to dialogue with the federal government on how best to lessen the effects of the hikes on Nigerians. It’s high time the Labour came up with suggestions on alternative policies to tackle the socioeconomic challenges besetting Nigeria while the federal government must also accommodate divergent views on how to rid the country of the economic challenges or reduce the effects.