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Fuel scarcity conspiracy to remove subsidy- Wabba

Ayuba Wabba, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, has claimed that the emergence of queues in filling stations is part of a conspiracy to force subsidy down Nigerians’ throats.

The NLC, according to Wabba, is keeping a close eye on the situation.

Following the Federal Government’s proposed plan to eliminate fuel subsidies, the NLC directed its affiliates to mobilize for nationwide protests.

The NLC, however, reversed its decisions on January 25, 2022, after the government decided to abandon its subsidy-removal plans.

Black marketeers have been flooding major highways in Lagos and Abuja with petrol in cans, selling to motorists on the side of the road.

The NLC President, speaking at the solemn assembly of the Nigeria Union of Teachers on Tuesday, questioned why there was fuel scarcity so soon after the government announced that it had shelved its decision to remove the fuel subsidy.

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Wabba said: “We are very watchful. We have seen that queues are surfacing which means that there is a conspiracy theory to force the policy of removal of fuel subsidy down the throat of Nigerians.

“We have found out that some of these filling stations have products with three to five dispensing machines but they will use one and then close by 5 p.m. This was not the case before the pronouncement of the policy. Filling stations that do operate 24 hours have stopped operating and no one is giving explanation.

“The Nigerian workers and Nigerians in general are continuously being exploited and we have the responsibility to protect all of us from all the cabals that are repeatedly benefiting from this so called subsidies.”

Wabba also addressed the National Assembly’s proposed plan to remove labor unions from the exclusive list.

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He pointed out that labor issues are currently addressed in Item 34 of the Second Schedule, Legislative Powers, Part 1, Exclusive List.

Industrial relations; conditions, safety, and welfare of workers; industrial disputes; prescribing a national minimum wage for the federation or any part thereof; and industrial arbitration, according to him.

He said: “For the sake of our national interest, security and industrial harmony, labour should not be one of the items that should be devolved to the states.”

Wabba noted that the nation-states’ labor legislation is largely influenced by the International Labour Organization’s conventions, protocols, and recommendations, as well as other instruments domesticated through Acts of Parliament, while explaining how it came to be on the Exclusive List.

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He went on to say that this explains the near-uniformity of labor laws around the world, as well as the global industrial order, harmony, and attractiveness to foreign investment.

Wabba explained that this was in recognition of the fact that 17 days after gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria, under a democratic government, rectified and domesticated ILO Conventions 87 and 98, guaranteeing the right to organise and bargain collectively.

Nigeria, on the other hand, has since adopted all of the core conventions in its capacity as a sovereign nation and attends ILO organ meetings on a regular basis in accordance with international best practices, he said.

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