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Northern Groups Write NLC President, Express Anger Over Strike Suspension

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni.
The President ,
Nigeria Labour Congress,
Comrade Paschal Bafyau Labour House,
Central District Area, Garki,
FCT, Abuja.

October 6, 2020

Dear Comrade President,

RE: THE JUST SUSPENDED MASS PROTESTS AND NATIONWIDE STRIKE ACTION AGAINST THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED HIGH INCREASES IN PETROLEUM PUMP PRICE AND ELECTRICITY TARIFF

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), a broad-based civil society organization which was solely formed to champion, promote and protect the rights, interests and freedoms of all Nigerians, particularly those of Northern Nigerian extraction, regardless of gender, religion, language and ethnicity, leading the undersigned NGOs and associations, wishes to convey warm greetings and unwavering solidarity to you and the entire Nigerian workers that God in His infinite wisdom had placed under your able leadership.

Sequel to the Federal Government’s announcement of an outrageous increase in the prices of the above listed essential items, the NLC under your good self, boldly expressed strong opposition to such cruel economic affront and you spontaneously went further to initiate a collaborative effort to forge a strong alliance with the ubiquitous civil society organizations, students/market women, in order to effectively stem this draconian, ill-timed and anti-people offensive by the government, which is  designed to emasculate the downtrodden masses.

Nigerians instinctively responded positively to your clarion call as it fully resonated with the deepest aspirations of majority of the population.

Several NGOs and civil society groups immediately began active mobilization and awareness raising amongst their teeming members with a view to mingling  resources with that of the  labour organization that you represent, in order to more effectively the  reversal of this unpopular decision.

Nigerians were thus following the stalemated bilateral negotiations between labour and government with the usual attention interest, when we received the shocking news of the sudden suspension of the planned protests and strike action, just quite few hours to their scheduled commencement.

More disconcerting was the signed communique that embodied the  perplexing grounds on which you and a few others, most astoundingly conceded to suspend the nationwide action.

More disturbing of course, is that labour neglected raise other critical like insecurity, infrastrute decay and the indefinite closure of our universities due to strike by ASUU.

By merely concentrating on just one aspect of the many concerns raised by Nigerians and settling for short term offers that would only benefit workers who constitute only 0.5% of the general population, suspicions are raised that  labour, apparently with the connivance of some black legs, had inadvertently fallen into the trap of compromizing the peoples will in return for oft repeated promises that have never being kept.

To add salt to injury, our labour partners in the joint project that brought us together, decided to treat Nigerians utter contempt by their blatant refusal to share information with the civil society groups on such vital and burning issues of national importance.

As a consequence, many from our civil society communities are yet to recover from the devastating blows dealt on them with this singular suspension of a mutually agreed action.

It bears repetition to underscore, that, while the Congress as an independent body has the duty, right and responsibility to know and decide when to pick and when to lay down arms, it should be mindful of the importance of respectfully discharging its obligations to its numerous social allies and teeming well wishers.

By refusing to reach out to some of these organizations during the course of the protracted negotiations and factoring their views prior to announcing the suspension, the leadership of Congress had perhaps inadvertently undermined and weakened the strong ties of friendship and solidarity which took years of painful dedication, commitment and selfless sacrifices to nurture, achieve and sustain.

In conclusion, Nigerian workers should remain rest assured that the CNG and its undersigned allies shall continue to strive for open cooperation and usual understanding with all sister bodies existing in the country, even in the face of unpleasant experiences and daunting obstacles.

Please accept, dear Comrade President, the warmest assurance of our fraternal considerations!

Yours Most Sincerely,

Nastura Ashir Shariff