The meeting between the Federal Government (FG) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over fuel subsidy removal has ended in a deadlock.
The meeting began around 4 pm on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Representatives of the Federal Government included Dele Alake, the spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu; and the Group CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari.
Other government officials present were the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The Organised Labour was represented by the NLC National President, Joe Ajaero; and the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo.
After several hours of meeting, the NLC demanded that the Federal Government return to the status quo by reversing the price of fuel before resuming negotiations with the NLC.
The National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, who criticized the removal of subsidy stated that the status quo returns before any formal engagement with the NLC to protect the Nigerian workforce and proffer additional solutions.
The NLC insisted that the Federal Government did not enter into any conversation even on palliative measures for Nigerians, hence the rejection of the latest announcement.
The union said it had decided to reconvene with its members to determine the next line of action.
Conversely, Alake described the meeting as robust, adding that talks would continue.
He expressed hope that the parties would reach a reasonable conclusion at its next adjourned meeting.
On Monday during his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Bola Tinubu said the era of subsidy payment on fuel has ended, adding that with the 2023 budget making no provision for fuel subsidy, further payment was no longer justifiable.
“The fuel subsidy is gone,” Tinubu said. His government would instead channel funds into infrastructure and other areas to strengthen the economy, he added.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the House Of Representatives have since backed Tinubu’s decision.
However, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) argued the President could not unilaterally take a decision on subsidy removal, saying there was a reason the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari pushed the “sensitive issue” to the new government.
Fuel queues have since resurfaced across the country since the presidential pronouncement as Nigerians forage for the premium product.
Ajaero, on Tuesday, kicked against Tinubu’s announcement confirming the removal of fuel subsidy.
The NLC president described the development as not well planned, saying Nigerians feel betrayed by the move.
“By his insensitive decision, President Tinubu on his inauguration day brought tears and sorrow to millions of Nigerians instead of hope.
He equally devalued the quality of their lives by over 300 percent and counting,” he said in a statement.