THE protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its Civil Society allies over the petrol price hike recorded success on Thursday, in Abuja, as it witnessed a huge crowd.
More industrial unions affiliated to the congress and many other civil society groups joined the protest which commenced as early as 9.00 a.m. at the Berger roundabout and ended in Area 1, Garki, Abuja.
Satisfied by the success of the rally, the congress vowed to sustain the protest for more weeks, but declared that it was open to dialogue anytime government deems it fit to negotiate with them.
Addressing workers and the crowd, the NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, stated that the strike was about obnoxious policies that was detrimental to the generality of Nigerians.
The NLC president vowed that the congress would continue to resist the N145 per litre price of petrol, because it would further exploit Nigerians.
On the court injunction, Comrade Wabba said: “We have not been put on notice, but when we were meeting with government, they tried to bring that issue, but as of today, I want to say clearly, we have not actually been served.”
Also, the deputy president of NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi; the NULGE President, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel and the chairman of Labour and Civil Society group, Jaiye Gaskiya, said the strike would continue until the demands of labour were met.
NLC meeting with Senate leadership later in the day, Wabba reiterated his stand that the strike would continue.
Wabba, who led a team of NLC officials to a parley with Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the strike, which entered its second day on Thursday, would continue until the Federal Government resumed talks with them on the way out of the crisis.
He said, however, that the organised Labour was ready to resume negotiations with the Federal Government over the fuel impasse any time it received invitation to that effect.
The Senate President, however, told newsmen that the meeting had already provided the needed green light for an end to the strike, with the acceptance of its leaders to go back to the negotiation table with the Federal Government.
Saraki said the Senate would see to the resumption of the negotiations between Labour and the Federal Government, adding that the red chamber would collaborate with the stakeholders for speedy resolution of the current impasse.
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, pleaded with the Labour union leaders to shelve strike and allow dialogue to continue over the recent increase in the price of petrol.
Dogara, who stated this after a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the NLC, led by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said: “We need to appreciate that our national wealth has shrunk. We were making $110 per barrel (of crude oil), but it is $43 now. On the part of the House, we believe that our workers should be paid a living wage, not even a minimum wage.”
According to him, “We have appealed to labour to look into these issues again. Our appeal to them is that they should bring something to table to have a conducive environment for further discussion and the only thing to achieve that is by calling off the strike”.
On his part, Comrade Wabba, said that before labour can call off the strike it had to consult with its enlarge members.
He noted that “we have had an open discussion which centred around issues of national interest. We have assured him that we are going to consider it and talk to our people and we are open to dialogue and negotiation.
“We hope by his intervention, we hope to resolve it amicably. The commitment is that we are going to consult and interface and continue interfacing with the speaker,” he said.