We’ll no longer tolerate escalation of insecurity —NLC warns

Says workers are falling victims to siege of insecurity daily

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) rose from its National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja with a call on the government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.

The congress warned that Nigerian workers would no longer tolerate the escalation of insecurity in the country as it presents huge dangers to citizens, economic growth and national stability.

Many issues dominated discussion at the NEC meeting, but the NLC said the issue of insecurity in the country had gotten to an alarming stage.

The issues discussed include the reports of the Technical Committee on Petrol Pricing and Electricity; poor commitment of the government to research especially in light of COVID-19; the crisis of insecurity; the attack on human and trade union rights, incessant increases in the pump price of petrol and hike in electricity tariff.

According to a communique issued after the NEC meeting and signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and the General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, the congress condemned persistent insecurity in the country and expressed worries that many workers and Nigerians are being affected daily.

The communique said: “The NEC berated the persisting crisis of insecurity in Nigeria as manifest through the increase in terrorism, kidnap-for-ransom, banditry and inter-communal clashes which have displaced millions, made many places inaccessible and ruined livelihoods. The NEC expressed worries that many Nigerian workers and citizens are daily falling victims to the searing siege of insecurity in the land.

“NEC also expressed dismay at the toll the current state of insecurity imposes on productivity, economic growth, food security, and the mental cum physical health of workers, their families and citizens generally.”

The NEC said it had resolved to convene a national security summit as soon as possible in the quest for solutions to the crisis and restated its commitment to holding the summit.

In light of the prevalence of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the development of vaccines to manage the global health crisis, the NEC expressed concern about the inability of African countries including Nigeria to develop anti-COVID-19 vaccines.

The congress traced the research failure in Nigeria to the poor commitment of the Nigerian government to funding research and innovation and posited that research failure exacerbates the crisis of unemployment, insecurity, and widespread unrest ravaging the country.

It called on the government at all levels to demonstrate genuine commitment to research by ensuring central coordination of all research funding and efforts in the country.

“The government should also put in place enabling legislation to promote research. The Government should encourage research into the use of local herbs and other resources in managing COVID-19,” the communique said.

The NEC also considered the report on electricity tariff and established that there are conditions driving up electricity tariff in Nigeria that are within the control of the government.

Some of those conditions, according to the congress, include the high cost of gas used in power stations all over Nigeria, the dollarization of gas used in running power stations all over the country and the frontloading and transfer of the cost of infrastructure investment by DicCos to end consumers.

It expressed concern that the total power generation in Nigeria since the privatization of the power sector has not exceeded about 4000MW, adding that this development hangs a huge question mark on the success and usefulness of the power sector privatization.

The communique read: “On the report on electricity tariff, the NEC resolved that the government should immediately address the conditions within its control that are driving up electricity tariff in Nigeria.”

“First, the NEC called for a review of the power sector privatization programme which is already overdue for review since the law provides for a review of the privatization program after every two years.

The congress also called for the reduction of the cost of gas to 1.5 cents, as against the 2.5 cents being sold to DicCos, regretting that this cost is being passed on to end consumers.

It called for the scrapping of the use of US dollars and Nigeria inflation rates to determine the cost of gas to GenCos; and also called on the government to step up on the mass distribution of meters to electricity consumers all over Nigeria.

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