Tinubu begs for time to address Labour’s grievances

President Bola Tinubu has appealed to the organized labour to give him more time to look into their grievances rather than embark on industrial action.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, disclosed this after leading members of his leadership to brief the president on the outcome of their engagement with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which has declared a nationwide strike action.

This is as the Federal Government has explained that it was yet to roll out palliatives on the effect of subsidy removal of petrol because it doesn’t want to make mistake

Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Abbas said the President appealed that he is new in office and needs time to evaluate the issues that are being raised by workers over which he is yet to be briefed.

According to him, “What he said is that he’s just coming on board. We should ask them and beg them to please give him a little more time. The things that they mentioned, he is completely unaware of them, he is yet to be briefed about all those issues.

“But from what he heard from me, also advised that we should channel of those issues to the Chief of Staff to look at them one after the other.

“I believe the next coming days, some concerted actions will be taken.”

He said the House leadership invited NARD following their intention to go on strike, saying that the lawmakers succeeded in persuading the union to shelve the plan.

“Sequel to the meeting we had with them, there were series of conditions that they gave, that we felt we need to share with the president,” he said.

The Speaker maintained that the purpose of the visit to the presidential villa on Wednesday was to intimate the President of the progress made with the doctors association.

He also disclosed that the House leadership also used the visit for familiarity purposes as they had met with the president since they emerged leaders.

Why we’re yet to roll out palliatives –Fg

Speaking after the Steering Committee meeting on Palliatives, the leader of government team and Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Olu Verheijen, who was flanked by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachollom Daju, explained that the government was yet to roll out palliatives because it didn’t want to make mistakes.

She said the meeting with the organised labour was productive and would continue on Friday.

Asked about the agenda of the meeting, she said, “it involves labor and some parts of government, it’s a steering committee. it’s a wide group of people, a wide group of stakeholders representing the interests of Nigerians. And we’ve agreed to continue to make progress.

“It was a very productive meeting, the focus was really around how we fast track a lot of the interventions that will bring relief, particularly around CNG, mass transportation, cleaner energy, transportation, and reduce the impact of the cost of transportation, the increased cost of transportation. So we’ve made good progress. And we’re going to continue to do so and so that we can start rolling out these opportunities and this relief and measures as quickly as possible.”

Asked if the labour would not embark on strike again as they have threatened to do, she said, “The labor unions will speak to that. But we are making progress, we’re trying to address the issues that will prevent a strike. So that is essentially and that’s why I feel like we made very good progress today and will continue to do so.”

Further asked why it was taking so long to roll out some of your palliatives the government promised Nigerians, she said, “We have to get it right. It’s important that we do this well, and we keep our promises. So it’s important that whatever is announced actually gets done because we don’t want to make big announcements that will continue to lose people’s trust. It’s important that we build trust, and that most of the announcements and the plans that we roll out are credible and impactful.”

Reminded Nigerians are Suffering and are not expected to wait for too long for the palliatives to come, she said, “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is working assiduously to address all of these issues. And as quickly as he can, he’s very empathetic, he is concerned about it, as you’ve seen all of us working round the clock here to make sure that we are able to announce these measures as quickly as possible. It’s a whole package of issues that we’re rolling out as quickly as possible.”

The House leadership meeting with the President took place at the time the organised labour met with the presidential team on Palliatives.

Speaking to journalists, President of NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero said that the meeting has nothing to do with the proposed protest.

Ajaero said, “Well the outcome is very brief. We met based on N520 increase and the committee that was set based on that that and we agreed to to work to realize the objectives that was set during that moment.”

On the position of Labour on the delay by government to roll out palliatives, he said, “The two centers have made their position known and is before Nigerians, the TUC, the NLC, our position is known. And it’s public knowledge”

Further asked if NLC will go ahead with the threat to go on strike on August 2 if the federal government failed to reverse alleged anti-labour policies, Ajaero said, “Well, protest,? I wouldn’t know, we are going ahead with the protest because we have to be emphatic on what we put in our communique, we said we’re commencing protests from the 2nd.”

Fielding question on whether it meant that he was not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, he said, “This meeting has no relationship with the….remember and I want you to be careful about it. There is N520 increment, which gave birth to this meeting. Nobody is discussing about N617 as at now and this meeting didn’t have the competence to address that. Is that clear? There are two issues, does that make sense?”

On his side, the TUC President, Festus Osifo said that the organised labour disagreed with government in some areas but he declined to mention the areas of disagreement.

He explained that the meeting majorly was to listen to the presentations coming from the Secretariat of the steering committee, adding that the government team made presentation to them.

He said, “We made our robust inputs into it. Some of the things they presented we did not agree with them. So the areas we did not agree. We also made our impute known because when you come to such meeting it is for government or its representatives to do a presentation.

“But it’s left for us to either agree or disagree. So during the meeting, we gave them sufficient feedback. And they also agreed to go and look at those feedbacks and get back to us on Friday.”

Asked to mention the areas they disagreed with government, he said, “We are still discussing, I don’t think it is quite good for us to be discussing those particular subjects now more so because they told us that they will come back to us by Friday and Fridays is about 48 hours away. So it is better we hold on, we wait till Friday for them to give us a feedback then we can go into the nitty gritty. “

Asked to give the summary of what they want government to do, Osifor said, “What we want government to do is to address the plight of Nigerians. Nigerians are suffering, just as we said in our press conference few days ago, that Nigerians are suffering, that things are hard, that things are difficult, because things are difficult today in Nigeria, you must roll up programs that will ameliorate the suffering because at the end of the day, it is about Nigerians because government exists in order to take care of the downtrodden, majorly.

“So all we are saying is that government must as a matter of urgency, because we don’t have that time anymore. So as a matter of urgency must roll out various programs that will create alternative to PMS, and also palliatives. So these are the two focus, alternative to PMS, that is about the CNG and also the palliatives that must be brought out to ameliorate these sufferings Nigerians are passing through.”