The interactive session is to be held at a special plenary session on the floor of the House on Monday, May 16, 2016.
Meanwhile, the House is expected to interface with the leadership of Organised Labour and Civil Society Organisations with the view to avert the planned mass action by the coalition of organised labour and civil society organisations slated for May 18.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader had on Thursday confirmed participation at the stakeholders’ meeting where the new price regime was discussed.
Dogara during an interaction with the delegation from National Council of Ulamas of the Jamatu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatis Sunnah, led by Sheikh Nasir Abdulmuhyi, however promised that the House would play a “mediatory role” in case of resistance by Nigerians.
The speaker was quoted as saying that “due to the nature of the leaders we have in power, if there was any way that they could possibly avoid inflicting further pain on the people, I’m sure, almost 100 percent sure, that they will toe that path.
“So, when the decision has been taken, I’m sure but it will come back to us on the floor of the House and when it comes, we will call all the parties and then, look at it. If there are better ways of doing it, maybe we can suggest. The overall goal of this government is to ensure that this country doesn’t collapse on our head.
“We are the House of the people so we don’t judge. I do not want to come out with an opinion because I know that the matter, very soon, will come to the floor of the House of Representatives and as the presiding officer, I don’t want to give my opinion before that time. But one thing we can take home and assure our followers is that we will never allow any measure to be embarked by the government that will further impoverish our people.
“And so, there are times as leaders, that we take very difficult decisions and then the reason why we came to a position where this country was waiting to explode was because anything we were confronted with difficulties, we have always taken the easiest way out, we never involve ourselves in taking hard, very hard choices for our people. This is a matter that is subject to further re-examination and as a parliament; we’ll listen to all. In the House of Representatives, we represent everyone, whether it is the government, labour, whatever institutions are there, we are their representatives so when the matter comes, we will look at it and ensure that everything is resolved. Even if there is conflict, I’m sure we will play a mediatory role.”
On his part, Femi Gbajabiamila, who spoke with Legislative Correspondents after the meeting, neither opposed the new price regime nor the demand for upward review of the national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
He said: “I was at the stakeholders meeting with the Vice President yesterday and other stakeholders before the decision was made.
“The story that was painted, the details, the breakdown and the facts were scary. From what I read and what I saw, if we had continued that way, we may not even have a country in two months’ time. Salaries would not have been paid by any state.
“Faced with that it puts me in a very difficult situation and serious dilemma as to which way to go. I have always on one hand fought against the removal of fuel subsidy but now I am confronted with very scary details as to if they don’t deregulate. The consequences will be very bad for me and you, so it is like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,’’ Gbajabiamila said.