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Channel your energy towards resolving Nigeria's problems, NLC replies Tinubu

Tinubu had criticised the labour unions over repeated strike actions against his government.

NLC Lagos members assemble under Ikeja bridge over economic hardship [Businessday NG]

The Nigeria Labour Congress (CBN) has responded to President Bola Tinubu's condemnation of its strike actions, which he described as unacceptable.

Organised labour has been at loggerheads with the Tinubu government since June 2023 over the removal of subsidies on petrol and other issues of economic concern.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, the NLC, alongside its affiliate unions, staged a nationwide protest over the food price hike, inflation, and general hardship facing the masses.

Though meant to be a two-day action, the NLC called off the protest on the first day, citing pressure and threats against its leaders.

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Meanwhile, while speaking at the inauguration of Phase One of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Red Line at the Ikeja Station on Thursday, February 29, Tinubu expressed dissatisfaction over the labour union's action.

"Allow me to throw a jibe here. The Labour Union should understand that no matter how long we cling to our freedom and rights, to call four strikes within nine months of an administration is unacceptable, the President stated.

He advised the NLC to wait until 20227 if it wants to enter the political fray, saying, "If not maintain peace. You are not the only voice of Nigerians.”

But responding to the remarks in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, on Friday, the NLC asked Tinubu to concentrate his energy on finding solutions to the myriad of challenges in Nigeria, rather than engaging in rhetoric with organised labour.

Ajaero also challenged the President to provide evidence of fulfilling any agreement reached with organised labour within nine months of his administration.

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“The recent statements attributed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during the commissioning of the Red-Line Railway Project have sparked deep concern within the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“We find these remarks, particularly those concerning the role of Labour in governance, to be profoundly at variance with the struggles faced by ordinary Nigerians under existing policies.

“President Tinubu’s insinuation that Labour lacks the moral ground to challenge his administration, merely nine months into office, is deeply troubling. Moreover, his focus on partisan issues and the distant 2027 election cycle, rather than the urgent needs of the populace, further underscores a disconnect from the realities faced by Nigerians on a daily basis.

“It is regrettable that the President seems oblivious to the profound hardships endured by millions of Nigerians. The pervasive hunger, unemployment, housing insecurity, and escalating costs of basic necessities such as food and healthcare demand immediate attention and decisive action. Yet, instead of addressing these pressing concerns, President Tinubu appears preoccupied with political calculations and future electoral prospects.

“The NLC wishes to emphasize that our primary objective is not to vie for political positions, including that of the President. Rather, our sole focus is on advocating for effective governance that prioritises the welfare and security of all Nigerians. We urge President Tinubu to redirect his efforts towards fulfilling this fundamental duty of public office, rather than engaging in political rhetoric.

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“It is imperative that we refocus our collective energy on addressing the substantive issues that have been the subject of engagement between Labour and the government since June 2023. These include critical matters such as wage increases, social welfare programs, infrastructure development, and the revitalisation of key sectors such as education and healthcare,” the statement partly read.

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