JUST IN: NLC Leaders Storm Out Of Villa Meeting With FG

Representatives of the organised labour on Friday evening stormed out of a meeting with the Presidential Steering Committee on subsidy palliatives scheduled to hold at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, had led his delegation to the Chief of Staff’s office, the meeting venue at about 5 pm but were soon spotted exiting the building.

The Steering Committee met the government delegation on Wednesday, where the two parties agreed to reconvene on Friday to get a brief from the FG’s subcommittees on Mass Transit, Compressed Natural Gas, and Cash Transfer.

The Steering Committee was set up by the Federal Government to draw up intervention plans to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.

But on their way out, the irate labour members accused the federal government of using the meetings as a ploy to deceive Nigerians.

“They are not prepared for the meeting. That’s the truth,” a member of the Steering Committee from labour who spoke anonymously said.

“They are using cover to deceive Nigerians. There are supposed to be three subcommittees, the mass transit subcommittee, the CNG, and the cash transfer, to brief us, the steering committee, but the government was not prepared for the meeting,” the source accused the government.

According to the labour representative, “In their (FG’s) introductory remarks, they made excuses and wanted the meeting to continue; the meeting did not form a quorum. We are a people that operate on the basis of process. So, if there’s no quorum in a meeting, what do you do? You will adjourn for lack of quorum.

“There was nobody to meet with. The Chief of Staff was not there; they are taking us like small children.”

“So, they are not prepared for the meeting. That’s the truth,” he said, maintaining that the government representatives insisted that the meeting proceed even though no quorum was formed.

However, our correspondent learned that the Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, had waited for the labour delegation alongside other team members.

But the organised labour delegation from the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress suffered slight delays upon entering the State House over clearance issues. The reason for the delay was that the names of the labour delegation were not sent to the gate early enough for clearance.

The Chief of Staff later excused himself to attend to other official matters within the Villa while other government team members waited for the organised labour to arrive.

“We were detained at the gate,” one of the leaders of the labour delegation told journalists.

Friday’s gathering would have been the fourth in a series of meetings between the FG and organised labour since the discontinuance of the petroleum subsidy removal.

This comes after the organised labour earmarked August 2 for a nationwide protest over the hardship occasioned by petroleum subsidy removal.

The steering committee last met on Wednesday, but FG’s representatives could not convince the labour leaders to shelve the protest.

“We are going ahead with the protest because we have to be emphatic on what we put in our communique, to say we’re commencing protests from the 2nd,” the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, had insisted.

But the Federal Government insists that the meetings have yielded some progress

“We’ve agreed to continue to make progress. It was a very productive meeting. The focus was really on how we fast-track a lot of the interventions that will bring relief, particularly around CNG, mass transportation, cleaner energy, transportation, and reducing the impact of the cost of transportation, the increased cost of transportation. So we’ve made good progress,” the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Ms Olu Verheijen, told journalists.

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