Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige told labour leaders that Nigeria does not belong to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ngige made this statement following an altercation between him and Trade Union Congress, TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, at Thursday’s meeting over the planned strike action of the workers scheduled to begin coming Monday.
The basis for the argument followed from TUC’s letter to Buhari detailing its displeasure at hike in petrol pump price and electricity tariff and the resolve to embark on strike if the prices were not reversed.
The minister explained that it was out of order to address the letter to the President saying “I want to reiterate that the country belongs to all of us, it is not Buhari’s country. Whatever we want to discuss, we will discuss dispassionately in furtherance of the welfare of Nigerians.
“I will even assume my role as a conciliator: if the government side did not play ball, I will tell them, and if labour also crosses into a lane that will lead to the collapse of the entire economy, I will also bridge the gap.”
Responding, Olayele said: “I heard when the minister mentioned that the country belongs to all of us. I, as a person, except you change my impression, I believe the country belongs to the few politicians that take decisions and make policies that are very hard for us to live in this country.
“If the country belongs to all of us, the question is, why are people running out of this country? Our youths are running out of this country despite all the dangerous obstacles on the road, many have lost their lives.”