Petrol Would’ve Cost N1,500 Per Litre If Not For Our Intervention — NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says the determination of the body, is the reason citizens are not purchasing a litre of petrol at N1,500.

Comrade Benson Upah, NLC’s Head of Information and Public Affairs, said it is the strong character of the Congress President, Joe Ajaero, that made the government careful in increasing the pump price of petrol.

He also said the Ajaero leadership is responsible for the wage award of N35,000 from the government, adding that the NLC is committed to ensuring that the next national minimum wage will be an amount that would take workers home.

Upah said the NLC President is making sure negotiations are concluded on time for workers to have something that will take care of the inflation and hardship in the country.

“So the most important thing is that he is insisting that the minimum wage conversation be consummated within the appropriate timeframe,” he told Vanguard.

Speaking on the benefits workers had derived from the Ajaero- led leadership in about one year he became the NLC President, Upah said: “First and foremost, wage award is the immediate but there are others.

His words:“We signed two MoU’s (Memoranda of Understanding) with this administration (of President Bola Tinubu). The first was on the 5th of June 2023. The second was on the second or third of October 2023. Look at the contents of those MoUs. The wage award, the decision of the government to restore or to accept to pay the withheld salaries of the four university-based unions, NASU, NAAT, SSANU and ASUU, was part of it.

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“I also want to tell you: but for the resolute stand of NLC under Ajaero, Nigeria should have been paying a much higher tariff for petrol, by now, it wouldn’t have been N700 or N800. I tell you we would have been paying N1,500.

“But the government is being careful about crossing the threshold. It knows that if it does NLC will mobilize to the streets, NLC will mobilize the citizenry against it. So because of this, we are stuck where we are at six hundred and something naira and N700.

“The next thing which will be considered as his achievement is, that he has been speaking out, he has been making interventions on several issues including the state of insecurity, hunger in the land, anger in the land and what appears to be the shutting down of the democratic space. He never kept quiet he has been talking and acting.”

The NLC has also insisted on taking over the Labour Party from the Julius Abure-led National Executive Council.

“Quite unfortunately, when he does those things, some critics say oh he has a political agenda. It is because the Labour Party did not win the national election that that was the reason why he was behaving the way he was doing.

“Once again, nothing could be farther from the truth. The stage in which we have found the Labour Party in fact, comrade Joe met the Labour Party the way it is. I’m making this point today because people try to ethnicize quite several things. I mean that he does. They say it because he comes from the same geo-ethnic place as Peter Obi. I mean the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, that his sentiments were decidedly against APC, but it’s not true.

“At the time Obi crossed over to the Labour Party, Comrade Joe Ajaero hadn’t become president of NLC, he wasn’t. All that was done by his predecessor, a northerner. So for us, we don’t look at issues from the prisms of religion, or ethnicity. We look at issues purely from the prism of ideology. And we’re not guided by other sentiments. Our national interests guide us. We’re concerned about the security of this country, the sovereignty of this country. These are our stronger motivations. We love this country more than anyone,” Upah Saud.