The unilateral increase in prices of petroleum products yesterday, May 11, 2016 by government has not gone down well with labour unions.
The increase represents the height of insensitivity and impunity and shall be resisted by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its civil society allies.
In a Press Release by the NLC yesterday, the General Secretary of the union, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson condemned the actions of the government.
“With the imposition on the citizenry of criminal and unjustifiable electricity tariff and resultant darkness and other economic challenges brought on by the devaluation of the Naira and spiraling inflation, the least one had expected at this point in time was another policy measure that would further make life more miserable for the ordinary Nigerian.
The latest increase is the most audacious and cruel in the history of product price increase as it represents not only about 80 per cent increase but it is tied to the black market exchange rate.
Furthermore, the process through which government arrived at this is both illogical and illegal as the board of the PPPRA is not duly constituted. In our previous statements and communiques, we had stressed the need for reconstituting the boards of NNPC and PPPRA and wean both away from the overbearing influence of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources who has assumed the role of a Sole Administrator.
The allusion to the fact that the this increase was arrived at after due consultation with stake holders is not only ridiculous and fallacious, it goes to show that the brief meeting held today during which government was advised to shelve the idea until at least it meets with the appropriate organs of the Congress was in bad faith.
Accordingly, we urge the government to revert the prices to what they were. We would want to put everybody on notice that we shall resist this criminal increase with every means legitimate.
Already an emergency NEC meeting has been scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2016 to decide on the next line of action. Meanwhile, our affiliates, state councils and civil society allies are requested to commence mobilization immediately.”
Adding his voice to this latest impasse, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti has described the new pump price of petrol as “a demonstration of the level of hatred the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has for Nigerians”.
In a statement issued on his behalf by Lere Olayinka, Fayose said the scarcity of petrol experienced in the last three months was deliberately orchestrated by the government to pave way for the increment.
He said the All Progressives Congress (APC) rode to power through deceit, accusing the ruling party of promising to reduce petrol price to N45.
The governor said he was expecting the reactions of those who vehemently opposed the attempt of former President Goodluck Jonathan to remove subsidy.
“When they were seeking for votes from Nigerians, they promised to reduce petrol pump price to from N87 to N45 per litre, they promised to create three million jobs per year, they said $1 will be equal to N1 and above all, they promised to pay unemployed youths N5, 000 stipend and provide one meal a day to pupils nationwide,” the statement read.
“The over 70 per cent increment is another vindication of my predictions on what to expect in 2016. It is now clear that the scarcity of petrol being experienced in the last three months was deliberately orchestrated by the federal government to pave way for the already conceived increment.
Nigerians are now left at the mercy of political liars who took over power by deception and are governing by deceit. Instead of fulfilling their promises, they have increased petrol pump price to N145 per litre, increased electricity tariffs, retrenched thousands of workers and imposed untold hardships on Nigerians.
As they did in 2012, if labour leaders do not also stand up for the people at this time, posterity will not forgive them.”
Below are throwback photos of protests against subsidy removal by the past Jonathan administration:
Photo Credit: Sahara Reporters