The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Congress, which met at Bolton White Hotels, Abuja on Sunday, said that it had reviewed the protest action and its impact across the nation, noting the sacrifices of its members, response of the generality of Nigerians, government’s attitude and the brutality of the police in some states.
“NEC took special notice of the Ebonyi State Police Command where our members were intimidated, harassed, arrested and detained unjustly. After an exhaustive deliberation, NEC noted its protest action was informed by the twin issues of the unjustified and illegal hike in electricity tariff and increase in the pump price of petroleum products. NEC adjudged the protest action to be a success in spite of both internal and external challenges.
“NEC reiterated the correctness of its position on the twin-issues of electricity tariff hike and astronomical increase in the pump price of PMS and the hardship they portend for Nigerian masses. NEC also acknowledged that the temptation to compare the strike action with that of 2012 could be compelling but that the scenario had changed as both the actors and the terrain were different.
“NEC said before it had embarked on the action, it had anticipated a probable outcome and therefore was not surprised by government’s negative response. Nonetheless, it felt fulfilled by having the presence of mind and courage to identify its mission and fulfilling it, stressing that if a similar situation arises again, it will still rise and stand with the people.
“NEC therefore commended those who took part in the action in one way or the other and reaffirm its commitment to the struggle. The action, it reiterated was taken in the best interest of the poor and the weak and in drawing government’s attention to the dangers of relying on importation of petroleum products as a sustainable strategy for making available petroleum products. It expressed the belief that in the days ahead, time would prove its position right.
“Congress singled out for commendation, its state councils, affiliates and other patriotic Nigerians who at very short notice picked up the gauntlet for this struggle. Congress commends the leadership of the National Assembly and All Progressives Congress led by Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
“In consideration of the above, NEC after due consultation with its constituents resolved to suspend with immediate effect, the action it commenced on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The action is thus hereby suspended.
“Congress will resume negotiations with government on the twin issues of the hike in electricity tariff and an increase in the pump price of petroleum products and any other issue that may arise thereof.
“It similarly remains committed to genuine dialogue within the framework of internationally established and recognized principles of representation.
“The Congress will continue to resist wrong legislations, policies and programmes and will always act in the best interest of Nigerians as it remains the only pan Nigerian organisation not affected by religion, region, creed, partisanship or primordial sentiments.
“The Congress urges the government to play by the rules in its engagement with its constituent parts, stakeholders and non-state actors as proof of its commitment to deepening our democracy and also in acknowledgment of the well-worn credo that what goes around, comes around.
“The Congress also urges the citizenry to be vigilant at all times as the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The Congress commends all Nigerians for their understating and support.
“Being a statement by Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, the President General and Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress.” [myad]