The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to ground the economy as it begins a two-day warning strike on Tuesday, September 5, in protest against the government’s removal of fuel subsidy.
The strike comes 99 days after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, without fanfare, announced ‘petrol subsidy is gone’ at Eagle Square after taking office on May 29, 2023.
The NLC, the country’s largest trade union federation, said the strike would affect all sectors of the economy, including banking, transportation, and manufacturing.
The union said the strike was necessary to protest the government’s decision to remove fuel subsidies, which it said would devastate ordinary Nigerians.
“The removal of fuel subsidies is a direct attack on the poor and working people of Nigeria,” said NLC President Joe Ajaero. “It is an attempt to impoverish our people further and make life more difficult for them.”
The government has defended removing fuel subsidies, saying saving money and attracting investment is necessary.
But the NLC and other unions say the government has not done enough to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal on ordinary Nigerians.
The strike will likely significantly impact the Nigerian economy, which is already struggling.
The country’s naira currency has depreciated against the US dollar, and inflation is rising.
The strike is also likely to add to the political uncertainty in Nigeria, which is already facing several challenges, including a growing insurgency in the northeast.
The NLC has said it will negotiate with the government only if it agrees to reverse the decision to remove fuel subsidies.
It remains to be seen whether the government will be willing to do so.
In the meantime, the strike is likely to cause significant disruption to the Nigerian economy and further add to the country’s woes.