The agreement reached by the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over increase in the pump price of petrol may have gone the way of other promises by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Almost a month after the federal government agreed with organised labour to set up a tripartite committee to look into the issues raised by the latter, and the shelving of the strike embarked upon by the Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the NLC, nothing has been heard of the committee, or the issues to be looked into.
It would be recalled that in the build up to the strike action called by the Wabba faction in May, Ripples Nigeria had reported that government had adopted the divide and rule tactics to break the rank of the labour movement to render the strike ineffective by electing to carry on negotiations with the Ajaero faction which only has two very influential affiliate unions under its wings; the Electricity Workers Union and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union (NUPENG).
The government negotiating team, led by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, said it had reached an agreement with the Joe Ajaero-led faction of the NLC to set up a committee to resolve agitations over the new pump price.
Oshiomhole also told the media that the joint committee is expected to review the price of petrol, determine a new minimum wage and consult with the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for effective price regulation of petroleum products.
Nigerians were told that the committee had two weeks to turn in its report.
It has, however, remained intriguing that both the Buhari-led administration and organised labour have remained mute over the proposed joint committee, the proposed review of the pump price and the issue of minimum wage.
For many Nigerians who have continued to groan under the heavy burden brought about by the current price regime of petrol, the silence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, on a public declaration made by its leaders has become very discomforting, and another integrity test for the administration.
In May, Ripples Nigeria had published a grand plot to decimate the ranks of Labour, with elaborate plans to turn it into a toothless bulldog that could neither bark, nor bite. The report had noted that the federal government might pull a trigger on the NLC by probing a N2billion facility extended to the unions.
Ripples Nigeria findings show that the NLC remains split down the line with no hope of reconciliation in the horizon. The pockets of protests across the states have been reported by critics as a distraction and intended to take attention away from the centre.
The Ayuba Wabba faction, which displayed some level of defiance, has activated the mute mode since it called off its strike action, leaving hapless Nigerians to their fate.
The much touted paliatives to cushion the effect of the increase in the pump price of petrol, the review of the national minimum wage and constitution of the Board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the agency legally saddled with the responsibility of fixing prices of petroleum products, have remained unfulfilled, further diminishing the goodwill enjoyed by the government.
For now, Nigerians continue to groan, and ask themselves if these are another round of dashed hopes and unfulfilled promises, that is becoming typical of the present administration.
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