One of the United National Peace Ambassadors, Chief Amina Temitope Ajayi on Monday appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress; the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and their affiliates, to obey the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja division, which barred them from embarking on strike over the removal of petrol subsidy.
The federal government had prayed to the court for an interim injunction stopping the labour unions from embarking on the proposed strike from Wednesday.
The Presiding Judge, Olufunke Anuwe, in her ruling on Monday, directed the unions to halt the planned strike pending the hearing and determination of the ex parte motion filed by the federal government.
She stated that the federal government was able to show that the planned strike is capable of disrupting activities in the health and education sectors.
“The defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 5th June 2023.
“It is ordered that the defendant/respondents be immediately served with the originating processes in this suit, the motion on notice and the order of this court hereby made.
“The motion on notice is hereby fixed for hearing for 19th June 2023. Hearing notices to that effect shall be served on the defendants/respondents along with the other processes.”
In an interview with journalists in Lagos, Chief Ajayi urged organised labour, as responsible unions, to abide by the ruling of the court.
She also said they should not embark on their proposed strike slated for Wednesday.
She decried that many Nigerians are currently going through pains, adding strike will have a dangerous impact on the Nigerian economy.
She stated that the nation’s economy was fragile and urged labour not to complicate things for Nigerians by embarking on another but avoidable industrial action.
In an interview with journalists in Lagos, she further begged the organised labour not to cause further economic and social dislocation, to Nigerians, who she noted are currently going through high. cost of living.
She lamented that further strikes will negatively impact on businesses and worsen Nigeria’s economic woes.
Ajayi, who is Chairman/CEO of Silicon Valley Nigeria Economic Development SV-NED Inc said the petrol subsidy had plunged Nigeria into debt and its removal was, therefore, inevitable.
She stated that President Bola Tinubu should be commended for, according to her, taking a bold and audacious step by announcing petrol subsidy removal during his inaugural speech.
According to her, sustaining petrol subsidy would have plunged Nigeria into a deeper debt trap.
Ajayi, who is also a former President of the All Nigerian American Congress, (ANAC), added that they should, in the interest of all of Nigeria, embrace dialogue and accept the offers from the Federal Government, for an amicable resolution of the impasse caused by the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol or fuel.
According to her, the government should ensure that appropriate programmes and measures are activated to cushion the painful impacts of the removal of petrol subsidy removal.
Ajayi said, “I appeal to NLC and TUC and their affiliates that this government is still new. We should give the government a breathing space. We need to nurture this government as a nation. This is democracy. It is being actualised. We need to use only dialogue to find a solution.
“I feel for the people for their sufferings. I also feel for the concerns of the labour. But the President of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has promised to give palliatives. He knows the language of policymaking. He knows how to make money. He knows how to make use of experts. This is the time to engage experts.
“Everybody must respect each other’s position. Labour is labour anywhere in the world. They should be best friends of the government. Government should consult and engage the labour because they represent the masses. The government should also respect labour. It should not come to the point where labour should go on strike. How many strikes have they done in Nigeria? Strike is old-fashioned now, Negotiation is the way now. Everybody has its own shortcomings but dialogue is the word.”
She added, “Experts like Prof Ngozi Okonjo Iweala; former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, and many other experts have called for the removal of subsidy. ‘He who goes a borrowing ends a borrowing.’ I have taken research on our neighbouring countries. Why is the price of petrol higher than ours? We need to take a break because of the generations yet unborn.
“In America, it is $150 to fill a tank. Nobody will go on strike. Everybody wants to use their cars. In America, you use more of public transportation. The rail and the buses. I am appealing to LNCL and TUC, I know they are fighting for the masses. They should cooperate with the goverment, dialogue with the government and find a solution. Everybody knows that fuel subsidy is suicidal to this country.
“People said there will be inflation. How long shall we continue giving Nigerians feeding bottles? We can not continue giving Nigerians feeding bottles. We should be real.”
“The goverment is just a week old. Labour is the father of this baby. There must be consultation. Everybody must respect each other’s position. Labour is labour anywhere in the world. They should be best friends. Government should consult and engage the labour because they represent the masses. The government should also respect labour. It should not come to the point where labour should go on strike.
“How many strikes have they done in Nigeria? The strike is old-fashioned now, Negotiation is the fashion now. For me to live in America for almost 30 years, I know how organised the country operates. Everybody has its own shortcomings but dialogue is the world.
“I am appealing to Labout to give the government a breathing place and cooperation. Every Nigerian should support this new government.”