Chris Steven, Abuja
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has appealed to the organized labour to shelve the proposed nationwide strike in the interest of the nation.
The Minister who made this appeal in his office on Tuesday reiterated that now is not the time to embark on strike in Nigeria because the country is presently passing through economic challenges.
His words: “I will like to appeal to the labour leaders to listen to the appeals from the generality of the people that now is not the time to strike in Nigeria because we all know what our dear country is going through economically.”
“We all know what the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing to ensure that we get out of the economic challenges we are facing, which really is as a result of factors that arose totally beyond the control of everyone in government now, including the citizens”.
Malam Bello remarked that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu during his interactive session with the members of the House of Representatives had explained the rationale behind the hike and all the reasons were definitely very convincing as they are a reflection of reality on ground.
He therefore urged the leadership of the labour to use their position to encourage all workers to support the government policy and also to ensure that government organizations and individuals that are supposed to regulate and oversee the entire petroleum value chain from exploration, refining, importation, distribution and eventual retail to make sure that everybody works efficiently.
The Minister charged labour to also ensure that people do not use the present situation to cut corners and charge above the true cost of bringing in this product.
“The labour leaders have to understand that for a very long time, we have not had a leader who we all know and see practically that is genuinely concerned in trying to salvage our nation. So, these kinds of opportunities do not come all the time. It’s an opportunity of a life time and I believe as a people, we Nigerians have to embrace this opportunity and support the government, pray for the government and ensure that these policies are effectively implemented,” he stressed.
Malam Bello said that one of the benefits is that the system is going to be very efficient and the products will be priced based on their true costs, not addition of cost that appreciates due to inefficiency.
“More importantly, we need to look at how to ease the pains of Nigerians. If you take the FCT Administration, what we intend to do, obviously, if the price of fuel goes up as it has done, the tendency is that transport fares will also go up. So, as a government, what we intend to do is to deploy more buses onto the streets and as you know, the bus fares have always been subsidized,” the Minister emphasized.
He said , “we should have faith in the President and understand that this systemic and structural problems that we are facing today are culminations of issues that occurred many years ago and I think it is good for us to be realistic and understand that they cannot just disappear overnight. It requires collective hard work for us to salvage this country and I’m very confident that by the grace of God Almighty, we’ll succeed”.
The Minister assured that effective security measures have been put in place to ensure that nobody is molested as they come out to seek for their daily bread; adding that “we are in a free country and everybody has the right to come out to look for his or her daily bread”.