A human rights group, the International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative(IS4-PAHRI) has expressed support to the proposed industrial action and mass protest by the Trade Union Congress(TUC) against the hikes in pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
TUC which issued an ultimatum to the federal government, had scheduled to kick-off the nationwide protest Wednesday, 23rd September in collaboration with other labour unions and civil society organizations.
Expressing solidarity towards the proposed action, IS4-PAHRI, in a statement issued by their president and secretary, Comrade Osmond Ugwu and Dr. Jerry Chukwuokolo, respectively, said the hope of Nigerians has been restored.
They further called on the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), CSOs, market associations, churches and the clergies to join the proposed protest in order to make maximum impact.
According to the group, “The ultimatum letter issued to the Federal Government and addressed to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to revert to the status quo ante before the date of the proposed action, the hope for Nigerians for liberation from the annihilation and subjugation to perpetual poverty has been restored.
“Consequent upon this manifest readiness by the TUC to champion this struggle for national liberation at this point of history of Nigeria, we call on Nigeria Labour Congress and all its affiliates, all the Civil Society Organisations, Market Associations, faith-based associations like the churches-both the laity and the clergy, etc, to come out en masse and join the protest.
“We enjoin the Central planning Committee of the coalition/joint action to ensure a proper coordination and organising of the action to ensure that it is successful in all the states in such a way that this government will feel the impact of the power of the people.
IS4-PAHRI further advised TUC to refrain from negotiating or accepting juicy offers from the federal government till the hike in prices are reverted.
“We also ask the organised labour sector not to enter into any negotiation on the matter because such a matter should be regarded and treated as non-negotiable category. When it takes off, the action should be called off only on the unconditional revert to the old price of petrol and electricity tariff before the hike.
“It is very unfortunate that this present regime has taken Nigeria people for a ride and our democracy for mock. Nigeria people have experienced a lot of arbitrariness and abuse of their integral rights and neglect of their welfare and should not be allowed to continue. Most unfortunate is the recent increase in the price of petrol and electricity tariff which are the main cornerstone and life wire of the nation and the people, moreso when the harsh effects of the government policies are already weighing so heavily on the psyche and souls of the people.
“We wonder how the government expect the workers, families and other social groups to cope in the face of high cost of food items, medics, education, textile, house rents, books and educationals, high rate of unemployment against the backdrop of uncontrollable corruption in various sectors of the government.
“Nigerians deserve far better than what they are getting today from the leadership of the country abd have the right to demand for a fair share of the economic dividend of the National economy. We urge the Organised Labour to jettison any offer of interventionist agency where the so-called saved money from subvention of full will be channelled for better management and utilisation for special projects as it has never served any meaningful and lasting purpose in the past.
“As an organisation with the mandate and commitment for the defence, protection and promotion of genuine peace founded on justice, fundamental human rights, integral development, good governance and true democracy, we are in full support of any action that will enable the people realise and enjoy their integral rights including their socio-economic rights, their corporate dignity, personality and genuine happiness which is what real freedom is all about.
“We hereby call on all and sundry to unite for a common purpose of asserting their rights and themselves for effective freedom and liberty from tyranny of persons and imposed poverty. We also urge the Organised Labour not to repeat the mistake of the past of betraying the masses by ending the action without due consultations and agreement with the critical stakeholders,” it concluded.