Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the aegis of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Friday cautioned the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), over their resolve to embark on industrial action to protest the total removal of subsidy on petrol and electricity and the attendant hike in the price of the commodities.
The governors gave the charge after an emergency meeting on Thursday, saying that any such action will worsen the already deteriorating economic situation of the workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state governors after their emergency meeting on Thursday, set up a committee to recommend appropriate cost for pump price of fuel and a megawatt of electricity.
The committee which is headed by Jigawa State governor will interface with the National Economic Council (NEC), the labour unions and other relevant stakeholders.
Other members of the committee are governors of Nasarawa, Ogun, Kwara, Gombe, Abia and Bayelsa States.
NGF also advised the organised labour to exercise caution over its planned industrial action, as such action could worsen the already deteriorating economic situation of the workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A communiqué signed by Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, directed the NGF secretariat to provide relevant support to the committee on the details of the mechanism for the deregulation put in place by the Federal Government.
The governors called for an emergency NEC meeting “as soon as the committee comes up with a common position on the deregulation of both the petroleum and power sectors and the ﬁgures laid bare for all to see.”
They suggested for the provision of some cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of the subsidy removal on Nigerians.
The state chief executives however stated that “any position taken by the forum should not be seen to be contrary or injurious to the position state governors have always maintained in support of deregulation.
“Governors insisted that subsidy in the petroleum sector, apart from promoting corruption in petroleum pricing and distribution, brings about loss of revenues to the three tiers of government and loss of jobs to the populace.”
The communique noted that an Industrial Court had barred labour from embarking on its planned industrial action, and promised to use the intervening period to mediate between labour and the Federal Government.
The governors also resolved to halt forthwith the deduction of Local Government Council (LGC) statutory allocation for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
According to the communique, NGF also reached a resolution to call on the Minister for Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation not to disburse to receiving entities monies already deducted for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 LGAs, and that further deductions should be halted forthwith;
The governors stated that they will constitute a Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti (Chairman), Ebonyi, Delta, Gombe, Plateau, and Kano States to represent State and local governments on the matter.
According to the communique, the Committee will also approach President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Judicial Council and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to appeal against the judgement.
A committee headed by the NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi to interface with the Federal Government on the matter.
By Chidi Ugwu,