TUC threatens protest over scarcity of new notes

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Trade Union Congress Rivers State Council says if nothing is done within the seven (7) days, President Buhari asked for to resolve the currency swap, they will be forced to take action as a labour Union.

State Chairman TUC, Comrade Ikechukwu Onyefuru, while speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt, frowned at the recent naira scarcity in Rivers and other parts of the country, noting that the Union can not watch its members and Nigerians suffer untold hardship of no money, no food.

According to him, it is like the nation no longer have leadership as the government is not supposed to embark on such a project without considering how the naira will be available to citizens, adding that government deliberately create error enforcing condition to suffer Nigerians.

He called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to make the currency available to those living in remote and creek areas of Rivers State just as they made it available to those living in remote areas of the north.

“We have to take this action because we have the interest of our members and Rivers people at heart; we are aware of the problems bedevilling the society at this time. What is happening in Nigeria today may be likened to what is happening in a war-torn country where people will have money but no access to the funds, where people will have needs and a means of meeting them but no access to meet the requirements.

“The challenges now are too enormous is, like there is no more leadership in Nigeria. President Buhari asked for seven days, and Nigerians are waiting after the seven days; if he cannot provide money or resolve these issues, we will remind him that he has failed us, and we may be compelled to take action to ensure we survive as a nation.

“Right now, we are still collaborating with stakeholders; when that fails, we go to the next level of being confrontational to redeem Nigerians from the suffering we are being subjected to. The federal government just changed our currency for whatever reason, let’s assume we will reap the gains, but you can only reap it when you are living; if, eventually, people die before they get the currency, then it is of no value.

“We believe the government did a good thing, but before embarking on such a journey, they would have considered how they would make the currency available to Nigerians. They should have mapped out strategies to make this new currency available to Nigerians.

“Rivers State workers as of today have been pushed to the extreme where they do not have money to buy anything; the POS operators collect two hundred (200) naira for every one thousand naira withdrawn, and how much is the minimum wage? This further pushes Rivers State workers to a point where there seems to be no help”.

Onyefuru, however, frowned at the level of unavailability of premium motor spirit in the state and across the nation for a country ranked to be the largest producer of crude oil in Africa.

“We know the issues around the availability of petroleum products where pump price of petrol in Rivers State is sold between four hundred to five hundred naira per litre against the official rate that we all know and which the government have not come out clearly to say they have increased the pump price.

“If you go round Port Harcourt, you will see long queues everywhere. Nigeria ranked number one as the largest producer of crude oil in Africa, with over sixty (60) per cent of the total product that is to be consumed internally in the country escaping to other neighbouring countries; how come this product escaped without being checked?

“We know the official price of PMS and the federal government have not increased that rate, today the challenges associated with a shortage of supply induced rising demand because it is deliberately induced to enrich some Nigerians and people who support them to induce this rising demand are Nigerians.

“All these cumulate to marketers boldly selling fuel at 400 – 500 per litre, something as Nigerians we should be ashamed about. This is someone stealing and coming out boldly to say I am stealing; we have regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor them; what are they doing?”

“Government deliberately creates error enforcing conditions, and Nigerians suffer. We have identified the problem, and Rivers State Council has already notified our national body for support to begin to engage in how to resolve all these issues p.

“Our national secretariat is developing a framework strategy to continue engagement in ensuring petroleum products get to the end users”.