Nigerians have started stockpiling food ahead of the ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the coalition of the civil society organisations that petrol price be reverted to N86.50 or all workers would embark on a strike.
On Saturday, the organised labour again repeated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government had till Tuesday night to reverse the increase in the price of fuel from N145 to N86.50 or face a total shutdown of the country.
The three-day ultimatum was first announced on Friday.
Following this warning, a cross section of Nigerians in different parts of the country told SUNDAY PUNCH that they were getting prepared for the strike by buying enough food in their homes.
A businesswoman based in Osogbo, Osun State, Mrs. Mayowa Bamisaiye, said she was ready for the strike because she had expected it after the Federal Government announced the new fuel price.
She said, ‘‘I do not agree with the new increment and I expected the labour unions to resist it. I have bought some food and I will buy more that will be enough to cater for my family during the strike. I also intend to withdraw some money to cater for some domestic needs as the strike lasts.’’
Also, a human resources officer in a non-governmental organisation in Ibadan, Oyo State, Mr. Paul Sodeinde, said he was prepared for the strike.
Sodeinde stated, ‘‘I have enough fuel for my generator. There is food in the house and water. I am ready to endure the strike for as long as it lasts.’’
The story was the same as most of the people that spoke to our correspondents in Lagos said they had started making preparations for a long stay at home.
A customer service officer, Bolade Osagie, said, “We expect the NLC to go through the whole hog like they did in 2012. In order to prepare for next week, I have started to get as much foodstuffs at home as possible. Even though I do not expect this strike to drag on before the Federal Government yields to the demands of the labour unions, I won’t be so unwise as not to get some food from the market. I will also try to get some more fuel for the generator too.”
A civil engineer, Shade Oguntuase, said she was going to do all her shopping on Sunday (today).
She said, “I’ll visit the market on Sunday to get some foodstuffs with the NLC threatening to shut down the country. I have kids at home to feed. I don’t think I want to be caught in a tight corner of not having enough food for the family, should the strike go on for days.”
The minister, however, promised that with more marketers in Nigeria, there would be competition and, ultimately, prices would fall.
Mohammed said the slump in the global price of crude oil had affected all oil-producing nations as even the United Arab Emirates had removed subsidy completely, while the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, had increased pump price of fuel by 40 per cent.
He said it would therefore be unrealistic for Nigeria to continue to sell petrol at N86.50.
The minister said, “The truth of the matter is that as of today, it is not possible for either the NNPC or independent marketers to bring in fuel and sell at N86.50 per litre. The simple reason is that the foreign exchange needed is not available.