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Those criticising labour for suspending strike are enemies of Nigerians —Presidency

The presidency on Sunday knocked those criticising the organized labour for suspending the planned mass action over the recent increase in fuel price and electricity tariff.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on Monday suspended the nationwide protest and industrial action by two weeks after meeting the Federal Government on the matter.

The mass action was intended to force the federal government into reversing the hike in pump price in petrol and electricity tariff adjustment.

Nigerians had however condemned the unions for suspending the mass action.

But in a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, the presidency said the critics became disgruntled because they had perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as a smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land.

He claimed that some people had wanted to use the suspended strike as an opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections.

The presidential aide commended the organised labour unions for putting the country first by suspending the action and urged Nigerians to beware of those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends or as revenge for perceived injuries.

These individuals, according to him, are enemies of Nigerians.

The statement read: “Since organised labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.

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“They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against organized labour.

“For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.

“For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was an opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.

“The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections. For them, it was all about hankering for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about the love of country. They have since then been calling organised labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.

“The times in which we live-with severe security, economic and social challenges-call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for the government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend organised labour for putting the country first.

“Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends, or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country. Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more.”

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