By: Afolabi Oyekunle
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) said President Bola Tinubu needs to tread softly on the issue of petroleum subsidy removal and consult stakeholders, as he could not unilaterally decide on such a volatile issue that affects millions of people.
According to a statement signed by the TUC President , Festus Osifo and the Secretary General, Comrade Nuru Toro the issue is a very delicate issue that touches on the lives of the people.
TUC said the issue of the subsidy ought to have been treated with utmost caution, and should have been
preceded by robust dialogue and consultation with, the representatives of the working people including professionals, market people, students and the masses.
“We hereby demand that President Tinubu should tarry awhile to give
room for robust dialogue and consultation and stakeholders engagement, just as
he opined in his speech until all issues and questions – and there are a host of them
to ensure that they are amicably considered and resolved.”
The Congress said Nigerian workers and
indeed the masses must not be made to suffer the inefficiency of successive
It said while listening to Tinubu’s Inaugural Address, the Congress was first encouraged, by his
pledge to lead as a servant of the people (and not as a ruler) and to always consult
and dialogue, especially on key and knotty national issues, but was taken aback , even horrified when he announced the withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum products.
“If by this, he means increases in pump price and the
exploitation of the people by unregulated and exploitative deregulated prices, then
it’s a joke taken too far.”
TUC said it was not for nothing the Buhari government pushed this to
the new administration, but expect the Tinubu government to be wise on such
a sensitive issue and be more explicit in its pronouncement to avoid contradictory
interpretation when comparing his written statement, what he said and the
provision in 2023 appropriation act.”
TUC assures that the Labour Movement is open and ready to dialogue with the Tinubu
administration on the fuel subsidy issue and urge it in the interest of the country
and its people not to dictate on such a matter or engage in manipulating the
outcome of such consultations.
It said if there is anything the administration needs to hurriedly address from day one in
office, it’s the abysmal N30,000 minimum wage that has since been eroded by the
problematic monetary and fiscal policies of government.
“Congress welcomes the promise to make electricity accessible and affordable to
businesses and homes and, suggests that the Tinubu government begins by
stopping the periodic arbitrary increases in price of electricity imposed by the
distribution companies while regulatory and consumer agencies look away.”
“This new administration cannot be seen to be speaking from both sides of its mouth,
we urge President Tinubu to be a president with human face.
We are also worried that in his speech President Tinubu failed to delve into or reveal
his plans on how to tackle and address the issue of poor and unchecked
deterioration in industrial relations, particularly in the education, health and
judiciary sectors, often resulting in prolonged strike and Industrial actions
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC however said is was delighted by the peaceful transition from the Buhari government to the Tinubu administration and across the 28 states.