The Joint Action Front (JAF) has declared its support to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) planned nationwide strike on Wednesday.
The JAF also advised Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former NLC president and former governor of Edo State, not to play a divisive role on the planned nationwide strike.
This was stated in a press statement jointly signed by Dr Dipo Fashina, JAF Chairperson and Comrade Abiodun Aremu, JAF Secretary, where the group described the removal of subsidy by the Bola Tinubu-led government as an attack on the poor and working-class Nigerians.
The statement read in part: “JAF welcomes you all in the spirit of the troubled times we are to this conference, which has been called to DECLARE our total commitment and solidarity to the NLC’s declaration of General Strike and Mass Protests, scheduled to commence in the 00hr of Wednesday June 7th 2023!
“Our principles to struggle in the defence of working people and the poor are sacrosanct, from Imoudu Labour Leader No. 1, Wahab Goodluck, to Hassan Sunmonu and Ali Ciroma and till date, hence the resolve of JAF to struggle at all times, either with Labour or independent of it to uphold and defend those principles. No one should make any mistake about why we are here! We therefore consider any attack on the organisation of working class people as an attack on us. Mischiefs should no longer be tolerated to endure in our own clime.
“Hence, the lead story on the front page of ThisDay of Sunday, June 4th, 2023 entitled: NLC Divided as North, South-West Chapters May Shun Planned Strike, is not only criminally mischievous but an indication of a desperation by a regime, whose legitimacy is in question.
“The NLC since its inaugural creation 73 years ago has overcome ethnic or regional lines on an issue with a national spread. NLC remains the biggest pan-Nigerian organisation united by a common vision/ mission and shared national values.
“As a result, the organisation called all affiliates to unify, saying, “We will triumph over their plots. JAF advises Comrade Adams Oshiomhole not to play a divisive role on this subject, as JAF is determined to oppose any reactionary forces bent on undermining the NLC's legitimate goals in defence of the working people and the impoverished.”
The statement continued: “BUT, beyond the current issue of reversal of the price of petrol is the fundamental challenge of SYSTEM CHANGE, which we urge Nigerians to take seriously!
“Since the arrogant pronouncement of Bola Tinubu on May 29th, during his inauguration as the President of Nigeria, that ‘petrol subsidy’ is gone and the imposition of a new price regime of N500 per litre upward, Nigeria has been further plunged into deep crisis as long queues have returned at fuel stations and ordinary people have to walk long distances to work places and other destinations of commodity exchange for survival!
“Inspired by the subservient dictates of the IMF/ World Bank policies, the regime, through the NNPC officially increased prices of petrol from N185 to as high as N557 and also with an indication that, it may go higher. This shows that the Tinubu government, whose legitimacy is still in question, is not only anti-poor but also out, to use deceits as its tool of governance.
“The Nigerian workers and the poor masses should join forces together to massively reject this punitive policy and struggle to DEFEAT it, including all other capitalist attacks, such as the devaluation of naira, hardship, excruciatingly high cost living and the high inflation which is at present over 22 percent.”
JAF also urged working people and the poor masses not to be deceived by the claim that the removal of the petrol subsidy would make more money available for education and infrastructure, alleging that Tinubu government was planning to introduce tuition fees in universities, which would mean high school fees beyond the capacity of many working-class families and the poor.
“Rather, the masses must insist the government has a responsibility to make our refineries work and build new ones in order to ensure availability of petroleum products (petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel, etc) at affordable prices to all at all time.
“By and large, we call on the working people and youth to join us in the struggle for a System Change which means an END to the unjust system of capitalism and its failed policies of Privatisation, Deregulation, etc, and its reign of looting and exploitation by the corrupt capitalist ruling cabals in order to bring forth a new POLITICAL and ECONOMIC ORDER. It is only a JUST SYSTEM (Socialism) that can ensure that the wealth of the country is judiciously used to benefit the majority working population and the oppressed poor,” the statement concluded.