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Labour strike: Iyabo Obasanjo defends dad’s action

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/06/27 | Views: 568 |

Labour strike: Iyabo Obasanjo defends dad’s action


Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, yesterday made spirited attempt to defend the actions of her father, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo as it relates to the increase in both the Value Added Tax (VAT) and pump price, saying that the increment was done in response to some prevailing circumstances around the world.

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, yesterday made spirited attempt to defend the actions of her father, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo as it relates to the increase in both the Value Added Tax (VAT) and pump price, saying that the increment was done in response to some prevailing circumstances around the world.

The Senator who argued that the increase in petroleum products in the international market continually create a gap that Nigeria would always be running to fill, wondered if Nigeria could sustain the subsidy on petroleum if, for instance, the prices increased in the international market within the next four months.

The Senate had yesterday debated the recent strike embarked upon by Labour, following a motion moved by the majority leader of the Senate, Teslim Folarin and seconded by Senate Minorty leader, Maina Ma’aji Lawan.

Justifying the recent increment in both VAT and pump price, Senator Obasanjo said: "The VAT measures were taken in cognizance of the situations within the region. But I think the problem was that it was not properly relayed to the members of the public.

"In the last 20 years, prices of petrol keep moving up and our subsidies have never matched up the increase. There is always a gap that we are running after. Now that they say there would be no increase for the next one year, even in the next four months, if the prices increase in the international market, can we sustain the subsidy? The issues are not local to us but there is lack of information going on on the issue."

But Senator Nicholas Ugbane believed that there was a failure of strategy on the part of the government.
According to him, Labour did not go on strike immediately the VAT and pump price were jerked up because they came out to say that they would not embark on strike as a mark of respect for the in-coming administration of President Umar Yar’ Adua.

He added that Labour, however, gave a 14-day ultimatum, a time he noted was long enough for the government to have taken a pro-active and preventive strategy to forestall the strike, adding that the fuel distribution problem he wrote about as an undergraduate 25 years ago was still very persistent, even as he called for the review of the PPRA Act.

After a lengthy debate on the issue, the Senate decided to set up a six-man ad-hoc committee to understudy all contending issues on the recent strike and report back to the Senate for further legislations with a view to putting an end to the incessant Labour strike in Nigeria.

The committee reports back in two weeks time. The committee is to be chaired by the former Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, with membership drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country.

Other members of the committee are: Senators Omar Hambaga (North-East), Eyinaya Abaribe (South-Esat); Abubakar Sodangi (North-Central), Umaru Dahiru (Noth-West) and Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello (South-West).

Before naming the committee, the Senate had passed a resolution commending Nigerians for their patience and for supporting democratic process during the strike. It also commended Labour for the mature manner it handled and prosecuted the strike without recourse to violence, even as it praised President Yar’Adua for his positive intervention in the crisis, and the Senate leadership for the meditative role it played toward the resolution of the crisis.

It also called all appropriate government agencies to ensure strict compliance with the new pump price and VAT.

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.