The Trade Union Congress has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the scarcity of petrol and the newly redesigned naira notes which have thrown Nigerians into unprecedented hardship.
The TUC also placed its state executives and members nationwide on alert for further directives which might culminate into an industrial action of nothing was done to address the current situation.
The union made this known via a statement jointly signed by its President and Secretary General, Festus Osifo, and Nuhu Toro, respectively on Tuesday.
It faulted the Federal Government’s policy on the new naira notes, stressing that Nigerians have never been known to have passed through such hardship in the history of the country.
The TUC said: “TUC members like the rest of the Nigerian populace, is bewildered that the country is being dragged through the twin crises of currency and fuel shortages.
“Never in the history of the country have Nigerians been subjected to so much pain, sorrow and anger which threatens to boil over into the streets. Indeed, pockets of protests have broken out in some states.
“Nigerians have never been subjected to the nightmare of being unable to access their hard-earned money in the banks leading to business closures and inability to pay for food, transportation and medical bills amongst other necessities.
“Also, the situation where the populace is forced to buy Nigerian currency or part with a significant percentage of cash just to get access to their own money is disheartening and evil. It is unacceptable that a country of laws with a plethora of government and security services in place is unable to curb these crimes against the people and bring perpetrators to book.
“Congress is not interested in the blame game going on in government and political circles, neither is it fascinated by the endless promises and assurances made by the Federal Government that the situation will soon be brought under control.
“We are worried and wish to note that smaller denominations of N100 naira notes and N50 notes were not affected by the Naira redesign, but paradoxically not in circulation anywhere in the country. President Muhammadu Buhari needs to give a marching order to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the commercial banks to make available the legal tender, unconditionally to Nigerians without further delay.
“All it demands is the immediate return to normalcy so that Nigerians who are already subjected to an unprecedented runaway inflation, can have access to their hard-earned money.
“Again, the lengthy explanations on why there are long queues at fuel stations and prices of PMS being far above the official price can no longer be tolerated. All we demand is that petrol returns to fuel stations and is available at the official price across the country.
“We warn that the time for government to act is now before the situation gets out of hand and the populace take matters into their own hands. The hope is that political office holders and the political class would heed our advice.
“Congress is however, not going to wait in perpetuity for the political leadership to put on its thinking cap. Therefore, we demand that the Federal Government within seven days, beginning from Tuesday 7th February, 2023 provides a solution to the twin problems of currency unavailability and fuel shortages.
“The leadership of TUC shall be monitoring the situation closely and will give further directive should the situation not improve. All State Council executives are hereby put on red alert.
“Nigeria belongs to the people, not to the government or the birds of passage who hold power. We should therefore be willing to make the needed sacrifices, if necessary, to salvage the country,” the statement read.