Delegations of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Friday evening stormed out of a scheduled meeting with a Federal Government team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja negotiating with them over the strike threat they issued over the recent removal of petrol subsidy.
This was to be fourth time the two sides would be meeting as presidential steering committee on subsidy removal palliatives, to try and resolve the grievances of labour unions concerning the hike in petrol and other prices following the subsidy removal.
President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, and General Secretary of TUC, Nuhu Toro, led the labour teams, while Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Ms. Olu Veighjein, was representing the Federal Government at the time of the incident.
It was learnt that the labour delegations had challenges gaining entry to the State House, Abuja where the meeting was scheduled to hold, and which had hosted three previous meetings over the negotiations.
The labour leaders had complained that they were kept waiting for a long while at the State House main entrance gate as their names were reportedly not on the visitors list for security clearance.
They later made it to the usual venue, conference room of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was however, not present, but was said to have earlier been around waiting for the Labour union leaders to arrive, while the misunderstanding at the entrance gate lasted.
Nonetheless, the meeting went into closed doors but surprisingly ended a few minutes afterwards when the angry labour unions officials came out of the venue and declined to speak officially to journalists as they had done on previous occasions.
However, one them who declined to be named, was heard lamenting that “they (FG) are using cover to deceive Nigerians. They are supposed to be three subcommittees – Mass Transit subcommittee, the CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), and the Cash Transfer – to brief us, the steering committee but government was not prepared for the meeting.
“In their introductory remarks they made excuses and they wanted the meeting to continue but the meeting did not form a quorum.
“If there is no quorum, we are a people that operate on the basis of process. So, if there’s no quorum in a meeting what do you do? You will adjourn for lack of quorum.
“There was nobody to meet with. The Chief of Staff was not there, they are taking us like small children.”