The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has supported the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in its nationwide protests against the federal government over fuel subsidy removal.
Obaseki called on organised labour to tackle the federal government over palliatives it was planning to distribute to Nigerians to ameliorate the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
The governor said this on Wednesday during the NLC protest while addressing members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state.
He said his administration will disburse N500 million monthly to poor households in the State as palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.
Obaseki reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of workers and all Edo people, saying that his government will sustain efforts to reduce the suffering and hardship inflicted on the people by the federal government.
He said: “The APC government has thrown us into this mess and we can’t ignore this fact but as Nigerians, we will do something about it. It may take time but we will prevail.
“On May 1st this year, I warned Labour that we are likely to face the condition and situation we face today. I warned you in that speech not to wait but be proactive and plan ahead. Look at where we are today.
“We in Edo State will do our own bit and I have decided that every month, going forward, we will take N500 million from our money to give to the poorest of the poor in Edo State.
“I want to alert you to reject the palliative they want to give to you. It’s a continuation of the fraud that the Federal Government has always undertaken against the people of Nigeria. The so-called money for palliative should be given to the local government which is closer to the people to take care of their people.
“You can’t buy grains from Abuja because the money to transport it alone is enough to take care of the people. We should stop this palliative fraud in Nigeria.
“I call on the Nigerian Labour Congress to reject the Federal Government’s palliative. Let them give local governments the money to give to the people as the Federal Government doesn’t have any business buying grains as palliative to be distributed across the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.
“We must stop this fraud. We are suffering too much in Nigeria and the Federal Government is insensitive to the plight of the people. In Edo State, we are labour-friendly and have increased our minimum wage two years ago N40, 000). The situation was not as bad as this before we took that step. We know that workers are suffering and need to do something about it as the take-home pay can’t take workers home anymore.”
Commending workers for their resilience, the governor stated, “I thank you for the peaceful protest and as citizens you have every right to protest against any issue you are not happy about as you are acting on your constitutional rights. We support the action of the NLC that your wages must reflect the current reality. I have received your letter and will send it to the President of Nigeria.”
See photos of the meeting below.