The Nigerian Labour Congress on Wednesday officially declared a nationwide strike over the scarcity of cash in the country. The national president of the union, Joe Ajaero, gave the directive during a media briefing in Abuja.
He also directed that affiliate unions constituting the NLC should be on standby for picketing exercises across all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria nationwide.
We could recall that NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to end the petrol and cash scarcity being experienced in the country.
Speaking with journalists, Ajaero said the industrial action became the last resort of the NLC following the expiration of the ultimatum.
He said the decision to picket the CBN branches became necessary as the federal government and the CBN had failed to show any commitment to addressing the situation.
Ajaero lamented that despite the Supreme Court order that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, the situation kept getting worse.
He said workers could not access cash to pay fares to work nor buy food for their families.
He also criticized the pricing irregularities in the petroleum sector.
“Last week, we gave an ultimatum for the review of the cash crunch bedeviling the country, but we have discovered to our dismay that as at this moment not much effort has been made to ameliorate the situation. Government is still foot-dragging on these issues we raised,” Ajaero said.
“Based on this, we met again this morning to review our position and resolved that by Wednesday next week, all CBN branches will be picketed. Workers are directed to stay at home too because people cannot eat, workers can no longer go to the office, and we have been pushed to the wall.
“We have decided to take our destiny in our hands, we have mobilized our workers on this exercise.”
The NLC has no fewer than 43 affiliate unions which include, but not limited to, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, among others.