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Fuel Subsidy: FG, NLC Fail to Reach Agreement

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* As Labour Threatens Strike Action
….
The meeting between the federal government and the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday was deadlocked as the unions insisted on reversion to status quo on the petroleum subsidy issue.

While the spokesperson on the government side, Dele Alake, told correspondents after the meeting that it was a robust engagement, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, said that Labour remained on their demand for the restoration of subsidy.

Alake said: “We had a very robust engagement. We cross-fertilized ideas, ideas flew from all sides and there is one thing that is remarkable even from the Labour side and that is Nigeria. We are all looking at the progress and stability of Nigeria. That is what is paramount.

“We cannot go into any details now because talks are still ongoing. We cannot finish everything at one sitting. So, we have adjourned now, we are continuing the talks at a later day very very shortly.

“The point is that talks are ongoing and it’s always better for all sides to keep talking with a view to arriving at a very amicable resolution that will be in the longer term interest of all Nigerians. That is as much as we can say now.”

But speaking to reporters, Ajaero declared that there was no consensus at the meeting, saying: “I wouldn’t know what was communicated to you as an outcome of the meeting. As far as Labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

While insisting on a return to the status quo, he said: “That’s one principle of negotiation. You don’t ask the partner to negotiate under gunpoint.”

On what the NLC wants, Ajaero said: “The prayer of NLC is that we go back to status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to be on the people of it is an action that must take off.”

On whether the status quo is the restoration of subsidy, the NLC leader stated: “Well, the subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June and before then, conscious people, Labour management, government to be able to think of what to happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time.”

While noting that there is no dogma about subsidy, Ajaero wondered why government cannot respect the sanctity of the law that provided for the expenditure up till the end of June.

He pointed out that there is no country in the world that does not subsidize the living of their citizens, saying that as long as Nigeria’s imports refined petroleum, the cost will be high.

“Is there any country that does not subsidize living of people even if you’ve been providing public transportation? Those are issues we’re looking at.

“If you are a major producer of crude and you refine abroad, you carry the crude abroad and refine and bring it, definitely there’ll be a difference in the price and that’s what they’re paying,” he added.

The NLC President also wondered why a meeting would be called to discuss subsidy only for government to announce new pump prices same day.

Noting that there must be conversation in a free atmosphere, he added: “That’s what we are saying. It is not because there is any dogma on subsidy. No. But we should converse in a free environment and atmosphere and arrive at a decision.

“If we agree for a meeting by 2pm today and in the morning, you come up with price modulation, how can you fix price in a deregulated market?”

Also speaking, the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the unions will go and consult with their members before deciding on the next meeting with government.

The meeting, which took place in the office of the Chief of Staff was also attended by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachallon Daju; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari and former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole among others

It followed the pronouncement by President Tinubu that petroleum subsidy is gone, which has caused a hike in the price of the product.

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Hon. Mohammed Ibrahim Idris: Ugane Club Mourns

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Former Kogi Governor, Ibrahim Idris Loses Son, Hon Mohammed

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Reports reaching SunriseNigeria indicate that former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Mohammed Ibrahim Idris has died.

Mohammed, son of a former governor of Kogi State,  Alhaji Ibrahim Idris reportedly slumped and died on Wednesday while preparing to go for the Eid-el-Fitr prayers.

Late Hon. Mohammed Ibrahim Idris

Details later….

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BREAKING: FG Approves Thursday As Additional Public Holiday For Eid-el-Fitr

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The Federal Government has declared Thursday, April 11, 2024, as additional public holiday to commemorate Eid-El-Fitr.

This was made known in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, shared on the ministry’s X account on Tuesday.

The statement said, “The Federal Government has approved Thursday, April 11, 2024 as an additional public holiday to celebrate this year’s Eid -El-Fitr.

“The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while congratulating the Muslim Ummah for a successful completion of a month of spiritual rejuvenation, reiterates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm commitment to providing a safe and prosperous Nigeria for all to thrive.”

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