The Workers and Youths Solidarity Network (WYSN) has declared support for the nationwide protest proposed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to demand a reversal of “all anti-poor” policies, including the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, by President Bola Tinubu’s government.
WYSN called on Nigerians to support the seven-day protest, which is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
According to the group, the protest is in the interest of the poor Nigerians, whom the policies of President Tinubu’s government have rendered poorer.
The group which conveyed its total support for the protest in a statement issued on Tuesday, signed by its Secretary, Damilola Owot, stated that the first 60 days of Tinubu in office as Nigeria’s President has brought nothing but more hardship, high cost of living, and hyperinflation on Nigerians across the board.
It said, “These are results of the several anti-people policies, such as fuel subsidy removal, students’ loan policy, naira deregulation, and devaluation, hike in school fees, and many more, embarked upon by the Tinubu’s government.
“We of the Workers and Youth Solidarity Network (WYSN) believe that only a mass movement of workers, youths, students, and entire people like this can neutralize the extreme policies of the ruling class and ensure we gain few concessions in our favor.”
The group asked the organised labour to also use the protest and industrial action to demand the implementation of N200,000 minimum wage.
The statement further read, “This is why we support these actions and call on the Labour movement not to only limit this struggle to only the reversal of all anti-poor policies but the commencement of pro-people projects such as improved funding of education, payment of N200,000 minimum wage, payment of owed/backlog salaries to workers, free and quality healthcare at points of use, reduction of the salaries of the ruling class, repair of our local refineries and nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy.”
The group described the fuel subsidy removal as ill-conceived and premature.
It said the government should have fixed the country’s four refineries before embarking on fuel subsidy removal.
It continued, “This single proclamation saw the value of PMS increase from an average of N190/litre to N500/litre (and now N617/litre). Before now, the citizens were in the dark about the source, value, and extent of the subsidy.
“The decision was not only premature but ill-prepared, unplanned, and unthoughtful. While some pro-BAT people hail and tag him “the brave one”, we of WYSN believe this declaration further shows his weakness and cowardice.
“If truly marketers are diverting petroleum products after claiming subsidies from the FG, then the same government should hunt and publicly prosecute those persons perpetrating such acts.
“Instead, the BAT government tagged these oil crooks as the “elite of the elites” who cannot be prosecuted. Hence, Tinubu believes that the ultimate solution to the national headache is to cut off the head.
“Another evidence of the inefficiencies of the lackluster BAT government is the inability to come up with a plan to cushion the effect of subsidy removal. The BAT government initially believed that a conditional cash transfer of N8,000 ($10) monthly to extremely poor homes was the best method to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.
“We believe this is just another attempt to loot and siphon the public wealth! If not, let us all ask the government to publish the register of the poor people and how the list was curated.
“The cluelessness of the government has plunged the nation into the wreckage. For instance, the increase in the price of PMS has automatically increased the prices of goods and services.
“Transport fares have increased up to 100%, food prices are at a record high price and the cost of securing services has increased astronomically.
“While some states have rolled out palliatives in the form of a reduction in work days of workers, additional N5-10,000 monthly, provision of additional transport systems, and so on, all of these are nothing compared to the hardship the subsidy removal has caused.
“Similarly, the labour movements must commence the process of building a mass workers’ party armed with socialist ideas!”
“Only a mass-based political party of workers, youths, and students can wrestle power with the elite capitalist parties and ultimately defeat them. Until we build a mass workers alternative that we can fight for a socialist program to end the rule of a few people,” the statement added.