Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Catholic Church Kicks Against NLC Proposed Strike



The Catholic Church in Nigeria, yesterday, called on the organized labour unions threatening to shut-down the country over the new fuel price of petrol to have a rethink on their plan, to avoid throwing the nation into chaos. The Federal Government on Wednesday last week announced a new official price for the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as Petrol of N145 per liters, from the old price of N86.5 per liters. This development, no doubt, compelled the organized labour unions to ask the government to reverse to the old price or face industrial action nationwide.
Vanguard reports that the the Director of Communication, Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Very Rev. Fr, Patrick Alumuku called on the general public to give the federal government the benefit of the doubt. Alumuku, who was fielding questions from Journalists during a press conference on his 35th Priestly Anniversary and the public presentation of his autobiography ‘Candle Wax’, in Abuja, said the current economic meltdown in the country is a global phenomenon that did not peculiar to Nigeria alone. According to him, this situation is global especially for the oil producing countries; therefore, it is a huge challenge for any government in power to contend with. Alumuku jokingly alluded to a cartoon in one of the dailies, where he said he saw some persons in the cartoon carrying a big stone, saying they were waiting for the NLC to come to street. “We are waiting for them to appear, we stone them,” he stated and laughed. He maintained that the people felt that the labour unions were playing prank on them by staging peaceful protest against government’s decision to increase their individual pocket. His words; “This is a critical moment. I have looked at Venezuela. Venezuela is a Latin American country, they depended on oil, and right now as we speak, Venezuelans are queuing up to buy sugar, milks, rice, pampers for children and they ration them. “That means, we are quiet better off than they, we also heard of the Russia situation, we are hearing about what is happening in Saudi Arabia. So, this economic hardship is global, especially affecting countries that are oil producing nations. “So to be able to improve, the government in power has huge challenge because of the promises they had made. They may be believing that things will be ok, the price of oil will not go down again. “Payment of workers salary is very important, because if you don’t pay salary, you don’t have moral ground to engage them or ask them to do something. If the figure they are showing us is anything to go by, it means they cannot even pay salary. So, as a Government that wants to be responsible will not want that to happen. “So, I think we need to give the government the benefit of the doubt. And even the labour congress and other various labour organizations need to think twice about this. “Are we going to throw the country into another chaos or we are going to go on and have salary not paid? Or are we going to allow ourselves to make this sacrifice? “Already, for the past many months, we have been left buying petrol at about N150, N200, N250 per liters and queuing up as well. I think we have to be able weigh all of these situations that we find ourselves and move forward. We should reflect appropriate before the labour unions embark on their strike.”