The leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday directed all its affiliate unions to mobilise for the picketing of all the offices of the Central Bank of Nigeria, including its headquarters in Abuja from next week over the current cash crunch in the country.
The Congress also directed workers to stay-at-home and join in the picketing exercise.
NLC President, Joe Ajaero, gave the directive during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday at the end of a meeting of the Central Working Committee of the NLC.
Ajaero said the exercise would be “total and till further notice.”
The labour leader said the directive became imperative following the expiration of a one week ultimatum given to the apex bank to make cash available to Nigerians last week.
He said the situation had not changed since the ultimatum was issued, forcing the Congress to decide on the picketing on CBN offices nationwide.
He said mobilisation for the picketing would commence on Friday (tomorrow) ahead of the picketing exercise next week.
The NLC President lamented that despite the Supreme Court order allowing the old N500 and N1000 notes to circulate with the new notes till December 31st this year, the situation appears to be getting worse as workers cannot access cash to pay fares to work and cannot buy food for their families.
The NLC last week gave the CBN and commercial banks a one week ultimatum to make naira notes available to workers and Nigerians.
The organisation said it would direct workers to stay at home if the apex bank failed to make the naira notes available to Nigerians.
Ajaero said: “Last week at the end of our CWC meeting, we gave a one week ultimatum for the federal government to address immediately, among other issues, the issue of cash crunch that was caused by the policy. As of this morning when the CWC met again to review the situation, we discovered that not much improvement has been made.
“The situation is still almost the same. People are still buying our currency with our currencies. People can no longer access the currency and the government seems to be very adamant on this. No moves have been made to reduce the suffering of Nigerians.
“Consequently, the CWC-in-session resolved to go into the process of actualising the one week notice. From Friday, there will be mobilisation of all state councils through a NEC meeting. All unions have already been directed to mobilise all their organs and their branches. By Wednesday, next week, all Central Bank of Nigeria offices nationwide will be picketed.
“All central banks from the CBN headquarters will be shut till further notice. Workers are directed to stay at home and join in the picketing exercise.
“We call on Nigerians to understand the circumstances we are operating in. People will be telling you about the political situation. The political situation is self inflicted and the economic situation is worst than the political situation because people cannot eat.
“Workers can no longer go to the office and nothing is happening. So we have been pushed to the wall having given one week and we thought they could address the situation which is not addressed.
“We have decided to take our destiny in our hands. So comrades, the mobilisation commences immediately and when we talk of action from Wednesday, it’s total. Until further notice.”
The NLC president also criticised the pricing irregularities in the petroleum sector, which he said was also a cause for concern.
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He said the crisis situation in the petroleum sector was being compounded by the cash crunch as people are being compelled to buy our local currency with money.