Economic Crisis: TUC Puts Nigerians On Red Alert
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC , welcomes you to this press conference on the State of The Nation. These for Nigerians, are some of the worst of times in their lives as many are on the brink of financial collapse, not because they have suddenly become insolvent or they do have money, but have entrusted such monies to the banks under the supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The problem as you know is that Nigerians have been betrayed by the banking system which has been unable to pay them their money on demand. They have also been failed by the Federal Government which unilaterally decided to change the three highest denominations of the currency, fixed dates for the change, and is utterly incapable either to deliver on its promises or protect the populace from financial strangulation.
As you are aware, the Nigerian populace is unable to pay for basic needs including food, medicines, clothes or transportation.
This is nothing but a calamity of epic proportions.
We have never had it so bad, never have our populace been made to attack banks, strip in banking halls or threaten to commit suicide inside financial houses because they cannot have access to their hard earn money
We are worried and wish to note that smaller denomination of N100 naira notes and N50 notes were not affected by the Naira redesign, but paradoxically not in circulation anywhere in the country.
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. As we have often stated, the answer to the fuel shortage question, is the local refining of our petroleum product needs. Local refining would add value to our crude oil, provide local jobs, and not only save us foreign exchange, but would enable us earn far more income.
Despite these past weeks of uncertainty, there is no clear solution in sight as the State and Federal Governments are neither on the same page nor have they charted any clear path to resolve this visibly self-induced crises.
If anything, they and their fellow politicians are engaged in legal somersaults in the Courts which have merely worsen matters and further confused the populace. Yet, it is a nightmare that we cannot allow to continue. Nigerian workers and indeed mases cannot be used as pons in the hands of politicians.
We do not only hold those in political office responsible for this clear decline into anarchism, but also the politicians who rather than come up with concrete suggestions or try to find a solution, have turned this tragedy into a circus show in which brick bats are thrown, conspiracy theories woven, and accusations made while the people are meant to suffer.
Nigerians as human beings are angry; justifiably so and have shown their anger in several ways including through protests.
Tragically, rather than address the issues or try to assuage their anger, the security services under the Presidency is shooting live bullets at defenseless Nigerians.
The TUC demands that President Muhammadu Buhari and his government put an immediate stop to these shootings and bring the culprits to book.
Indeed, what can be more criminal than depriving the citizenry of access to their hard earned money thereby starving them and their families, and then turning round to unleash armed security forces on them.
The Presidency and political class must realize that they are pushing the country down the steep slope of anarchism. Unless they reverse this, they must know that all our collective efforts to build a viable and democratic system would be lost; we are very close to the precipice and must act carefully.
The Nigerian people unlike the politicians and the wealthy class have nowhere to run to, have no monies stacked abroad and have no option than to remain in the country; their interest must be priority one.
Therefore, the TUC, the Labour Movement, professional associations, market associations and social movements have no choice but to defend the populace and prevent any tragic situation or scenario.
In furtherance of this and should these issues not resolved in the coming days, the TUC and its comrades in the labour and social movements would begin consultations with various groups in the country to work out democratic, constitutional and legal ways and means to save the populace and our beloved country. After all, the constitution states that sovereignty belongs to the Nigerian people and that all powers in the country must derive their legitimacy from the peoples sovereignty.
The minimum irreducible for us is that Nigerians must have access to their money, petrol must be available at official prices, security provided for all who live in the country, and welfare for the people is given priority.
The TUC assures its members and the working people that it would defend and protect their interests. We pledge to the Nigerian populace that their interests would be the irreducible minimum for us.
We appeal to Nigerians to be peaceful, focused and resolute.
They must refuse to be hoodwinked or allow themselves to be divided by lackeys of the state, agents of politicians and agent provocateur who would employ divisive tactics. Nigeria belongs to its people not those holding political office who are mere caretakers.
The leadership of TUC shall be monitoring the situation closely within the time frame of our ultimatum and will give further directive should the situation not improve. All Affiliate Unions and State Councils, Civil Societies, Traders, Students our Allies, Market Men and Women, religious leaders 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.
A People United, Can Never Be Defeated.
Comrade (Engr) Festus Osifo,President
Comrade Nuhu Toro,