BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN AND NONYE EKWENUGO Kaduna
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has expressed disappointment with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the suspension of the planned strike action and protest against increase in price of fuel and electricity tarrif.
The group while addressing a press conference in Kaduna Tuesday said, “it reject the agreement reached by the Nigerian labour leaders and the Federal Government in its totality, as it does not address the major grievances of Nigerians, nor reflect the interest of the vast majority of the population”.
CNG in the text of their briefing read by the spokesperson Suleiman Abdullazeez also observed that “the Federal Government can no longer be trusted with its consistently inconsistent promises for the reactivation of our refineries since inception”.
The text of the conference reads in parts; “CNG hereby demand the unification of the electricity tariffs between the North and the South which must also be affordable.
“Resist the deregulation of the downstream oil sector and insist on the immediate, unconditional and total reversal of the fuel and electricity tariffs to their former states before the increase.
“Resolve to liaise with other credible sections of the civil society to work for the creation of a stronger alternative, or parallel platform for pursuing national grievances”.
Meanwhile, CNG has directed all her state chapters to intensify outreach with all sections of the civil society, credible Non-governmental organizations and prepare every significant component of the northern society for a massive protest on a date to be announced soon, to force the reversal of this, and all other harsh economic policies pursued by the government.
CNG said it publicly condemn the labour union leaders for betraying the trust of the public by compromising the expectations of the general population of Nigerians.
The CNG said it wishes to join the vast majority of Nigerians, whose interests were not in any way reflected or protected in the Labour/FG agreement that the agreement reflected the concentration of negotiation on only the electricity tariff which was just one demand out of many concerns raised by Nigerians such as exploitative taxation, insecurity, infrastructural decay, massive unemployment and poverty.
“That the package merely offers temporary relief to a minor section of the population with the vast majority condemned to suffer the harsh realities perpetually, as prohibitive fuel prices inadvertently reflect on other commodities.
“That this capitulation by the labour leadership signals the need for the formation of an alternative unified, more confident, and consistent national front for undertaking further autonomous actions outside the workers unions”.