Governors urge labour unions to exercise caution on planned strike

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to exercise caution on its planned industrial action over the increase in the price of petroleum products and electricity tariff.

All 36 governors made the call in a communique issued on Friday in Abuja by the forum’s Vice Chairman and Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, after its 18th emergency teleconference meeting held on Friday.

The governors according to him, insisted that subsidy in the petroleum sector was promoting corruption in petroleum pricing and distribution, as well as the loss of jobs and revenues to all tiers of government.

Tambuwal said that any strike action would worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the governors while expressing concern over the call for a national strike, suggested the provision of a  cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of subsidy removal.

He said that the governors confirmed that an Industrial Court had barred labour from embarking on the planned strike, and nevertheless decided to use the intervening period to mediate between the stakeholders.

“The forum resolved to intercede with the labour unions, the Federal Government and other stakeholders.

“The forum especially calls labour to exercise caution in its plan to embark on indefinite strike.

“It notes that any such action will worsen the already deteriorating economic situation of the workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The forum set up a committee made up of the Governors of Jigawa, as Chairman, Nasarawa, Ogun, Kwara, Gombe, Abia  and  Bayelsa to interface with  the  National  Economic  Council,  the  labour  Unions  and  relevant stakeholders  for  the  overall  interest  of  the  nation.“

Tambuwal said that the  NGF  Secretariat would provide relevant support to the  Committee on the details of the mechanism for deregulation put in place by the federal government.

“The forum resolved to call for an emergency NEC meeting as soon as the committee comes up with a common position on the deregulation of both the petroleum and power sectors and the figures laid bare for all to see.

“Finally,  members  advised  that  any  position  taken  by  the  Forum  should not  be  seen  to  be  contrary or injurious to the position State Governors  have  always  maintained  in  support of deregulation.”

Tambuwal expressed the governor’s concern over deductions from the Federation  Allocation of the  774  local governments to construct and equip healthcare centres in each local government on behalf of the  Association of  Local  Government  Areas of  Nigeria (ALGON).

“The  Forum  rejected  the  legality  and  the  legitimacy  of  the  contract including all financing arrangements.”

He said that the forum resolved to call on the minister of finance and the accountant general of the federation not to disburse to receiving entities monies already deducted for the construction of the primary healthcare centres in each of the  774 LGAs.

“The governors also resolved that further deductions should be halted forthwith.

“The forum constitutes a committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti (chairman), Ebonyi, Delta, Gombe, Plateau, and the Kano States to represent State and local governments on the matter.

“The committee will meet Mr President, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the  National  Judicial  Council  and  the  Minister  of  Finance,  Budget  and National Planning to appeal against the judgment.” – NAN.

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