Declare state of emergency on energy sector, NLC tells Tinubu 

*NLC president, Joe Ajaero, speaking during the protest by workers

…Demands de-dollarisation of gas sale to power stations 

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — The organised labour, under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has charged President Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency in the nation’s energy sector, to resolve the ongoing energy crisis in the country.

The demand came as protests greeted parts of the country, including Lagos, Osun and Edo states, in line with the call by the NLC for a nationwide protest against economic hardship, insecurity and hyperinflation in the country.

Labour also called on President Tinubu to arrest the problem of hunger in the land.

Members of the NLC in Rivers State marched from their secretariat in D/Line through Aba Road, down to the Government House in Port Harcourt as part of the nationwide protest.

Leader of the protest and NLC Chairman in Rivers State, Comrade Alex Agwanwor, who read the protest letter detailing their demands to the Federal Government, urged Nigerians to resist cross-border smuggling of locally refined petroleum products and also called for the linking of every state capital to the national rail network.

Agwanwor, who called for food security, community policing, and resolution of herders-farmers conflicts, lamented over the rate of insecurity in the country, saying that Nigeria was now an ungovernable space as kidnappers, bandits, terrorists, armed robbers marauded all over the country.

The NLC also called for the de-dollarisation of gas sales to power stations, the reopening of land borders for food and cement to come in, as well as a review of power sector privatization to ensure capable investors are drawn to the sector.The NLC Chairman said: “Our demands are; declare a state of emergency on the energy sector and fully recover our national refineries. There must be a multi-stakeholders involvement in ascertaining what is wrong with our four national refineries and petroleum distribution systems and also multi- stakeholders’ supervision of finances to fix the issues.

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“Immediate arrangement to sell crude oil to local refineries both private and public in local currency and at a price below the international price of crude oil with an agreement to refine and market petroleum products at a pump price decent enough to recover production cost and make a modest profit.”Organised labour labour also called for “Transparent investment in compressed natural gas facilities to enable public and private vehicles to use CNG. Investment in public transportation through the deployment of trains, trams, buses and ferries to ease transportation glitches in cities.

“Gas evacuation to power stations should be de-dollarized. We cannot be in Nigeria and be buying gas in dollars. The dollar is not our currency.
De-dollarised licenses for local crude oil refineries, including artisanal refining and including investment in renewal energy. A moratorium on increased electricity tariffs until the hyperinflation is contained, and

“National minimum wage negotiation should be fast-tracked, we don’t need a minimum wage, we need a living wage.”

Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has voiced his confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organized labour and alleviate their apprehensions.

The Governor addressing members of the NLC, who halted their protest in front of the Government House,  conveyed his optimism regarding President Tinubu’s willingness to consider and address the issues presented by the labour union.

Fubara represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, underscored that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the federal government, and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the state.

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“To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the federal government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the president.”

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