HURIWA Carpets NASS Over Move To Stop Protest Against Tinubu’s Anti-Poor People Policies:
*Says Courts must not allow monetary inducements allocated to judiciary as palliative influence judgement against Strike:
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, carpeted the 10th National Assembly (NASS) including the Senate and the House of Representatives over their moves to stop the ongoing nationwide protests of the Organised Labour against the anti-people policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration.
HURIWA has also asked the National Industrial Court or the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal not to allow the humongous fund of N30 billion recently allocated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the judiciary as palliative measures against high costs of fuel, to influence their determination of cases instituted at the National Industrial court by the Federal Government to use JANKARA MARKET RESTRAINING ORDER to perpetually impede the decision of the oppressed workers under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress to embark on strike due to excessive upward reviews of pump price of fuel by the current administration.
Also, the Rights group has charged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to discharge justice equitably and fairly and not allow the intended monetary inducements of N30 billion palliative from the government to the judiciary, to influence the outcomes of the petitions challenging the validity of the February 25th Presidential Election.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the legislature controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has no power to change the tenets of free speech and democratic ideals such as embarking on strikes by workers which are provided for in a plethora of laws in Nigeria and many international labour agreements endorsed and domesticated by Nigeria.
The group said the National Assembly, instead of trying to stop aggrieved workers from protesting the economic woes suffered by Nigerians amid the abrupt removal of petrol subsidy and the galloping food inflation and unbearable hardship, the lawmakers should fast-track the demands of the labour unions including the reversal of petrol price hike, upward review of minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000, total reversal of fees paid by university students, amongst others.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliate unions, on Wednesday, kicked off a protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and other states of the Federation.
Tinubu had removed subsidy on petrol during his epic inauguration speech on May 29, 2023, with a litre of the petrol jumping from N184 to over N620 and food prices and general inflation galloping at an unprecedented rate.
Last week, the NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and demanded “the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government including the recent hike in PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers”.
But the Senate and the House of Representatives moved motions on Monday and Tuesday to stop the protest. However, the Organised Labour defied the pressure to abort the protest and held its demonstration today.
The Senate, on Wednesday, also set up a committee led by Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, from Borno South Senatorial District to dialogue with protesting unions who broke down the National Assembly Complex first gate.
The Senate also resolved that it will in the shortest possible time meet with the NLC and TUC leadership to find an amicable resolution to the current impasse.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The move by the Senate is so unfortunate. More unfortunate is the fact that the upper chamber and the lower chamber has become not just boot lickers of the executive arm but self-seeking and anti-people. How can a Senate led by a former governor who still collects humongous pension from Akwa Ibom State as a former governor and is about spending N70 billion allocated to them by Tinubu as palliative measures be at the forefront of attempting to stop oppressed masses from peacefully Protesting the harsh economic policies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu? This tendency is wicked, mischievous and malicious on the part of the National Assembly to try to stop hungry and angry Nigerians from wailing over the government induced economic adversities.”
“They have no power to change the tenets of free speech and democratic ideals such as embarking on strikes by workers which are provided for in a plethora of laws in Nigeria and many international labour agreements endorsed and domesticated by Nigeria.
“The Senate is a cash cow and a beneficiary from the sufferings unleashed on the masses in massive scale by the withdrawal of fuel subsidy by the executive arm of government without any concrete alternative to ameliorate the pains of poverty on millions of Nigerians. “