INDEFINITE NATIONWIDE STRIKE: LABOUR UNIONS DARE BUHARI

JOINT COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE EMERGENCY MEETINGS OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCILS OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS, THE TRADE UNION CONGRESS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS HELD ON FRIDAY MAY 13, 2016

The emergency meeting debated extensively the implications of government’s unilateral increase in prices of petroleum products, noting government’s disinclination for consultation on issues of public interest and its obsession with protecting product marketers at the expense of the Nigerian public. The meeting expressed concern about government’s neo-liberal policies which it considered a betrayal of its electioneering promises and observed as follows:

1. During the electioneering campaign last year, the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, had promised that, if elected President, he would not remove fuel subsidy if there was any at all;

2. After his election, President Muhammadu Buhari had maintained that there was no subsidy in the petroleum product price regime and that even if there was, he did not see how its removal would be beneficial to the ordinary Nigerian, noting that the slightest product price adjustment often leads to inflationary spiral and unimaginable suffering for the people;

3. On January 18, 2016, the government further allayed the fears of the Nigerian people by reducing the pump price of PMS to N86:50, explaining that the reduction was in furtherance of the implementation of the revised component of the Petroleum Products Pricing for PMS and kerosene;

4. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu had been speaking from both sides of his mouth. Whereas last year, he had strongly canvassed for the removal of “subsidy” in defiance of President Buhari, about a month ago, he claimed the subsidy had been removed through his ingenuity and that Nigeria was saving $1billion from this process;

5. Organized Labour wondered what has informed government’s sudden and dangerous policy summersault and its desperate attempt to convince the public that Labour was part of the decision that led to this price increase;

6. In view of the fact that the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), which is statutorily vested with powers to recommend prices, has not been reconstituted, the price variation announced by any officer of the agency or outside the agency is not only ultra vires and illegal, it is a criminal imposition on the citizenry;

7. The price hike from N86.50 to N145, representing 67.63% increase, is the height of insensitivity and impunity as there was no previous consultation with stake holders, especially the organized labour, or any justification for this reckless decision other than the fact that government believes it is accountable to no one;

8. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources declared that marketers will have to source their dollars from the secondary market. The attendant pressure on the dollar will lead to unimaginable rise in prices of commodities and other services thus creating further hardship for the people. Due to the volatility of the black market, organized labour doubts that government would be able to maintain PMS pump price at N145 per litre were the hike acceptable or justifiable. At the time the PMS pump price was fixed at N145, the exchange rate at the black market was N320 to the Naira. Between Wednesday and today when the new pump price was announced, the Naira has further crashed against the dollar, first to N340 on Thursday, then N365 on Friday morning and N385 by close of business on Friday, all in 48 hours! At this rate, we believe it will not take long before the Naira becomes entirely useless against the dollar. It is thus morally and economically suicidal to have tied the importation of products to the secondary market exchange rate;

9. In view of the fact that in the past five years, there has been no increase in salaries or wages or pensions in the face of devaluations, spiralling inflation and other vagaries of the economy, this product price increase is unrealistic, unaffordable, unacceptable and is thus rejected;

10. Government is unable to justify this price increase other than the puerile explanation that marketers need to recover their costs, without a thought for the aggregate or larger national interest including the need for local refining and creation of jobs;

11. The government has remained incalcitrant in spite of a subsisting court injunction on the issue of the criminal increase in electricity tariff even in the face of ever-worsening power supply situation;

12. From the foregoing, it is evident that the neo-liberal forces in the government have taken over the government and we should expect more inhumane policies which will further degrade the living standard of the average Nigerian. The punitive electricity tariff and PMS product prices may just be teasers;

13. The implications are costly and far-reaching, with the first and most significant being that we have become dependent on massive importation of refined products to meet our domestic needs in contra-distinction to other OPEC members. Whereas most OPEC members significantly meet their domestic needs through domestic refining by an average of 80 per cent, Nigeria on the contrary, at the pace it is going, will continue to rely on about 90 percent of imported refined products in the foreseeable future;

14. And because we are dependent on importation, the end-user price will always be influenced or determined by external factors such as the cost of refining abroad, transportation and others denominated in the dollar. As the Naira continues to depreciate against the dollar, so will the woes of consumers in Nigeria continue to increase, a situation the Marketers in classic greed will exploit to their advantage;

15. Taking into account the utilitarian value of petroleum products in Nigeria, all sectors are going to be negatively affected by this mindless price increase as virtually all the stakeholders are agreed that the most significant contributor to the astronomical cost of doing business in Nigeria is the cost of energy.

NLC, TUC and other civil society allies are not unaware of the positions taken by the Unions in the oil and Gas Industry. A process of engagement will be put in place in order to ensure the success of the struggle to protect the overall interest of the Nigerian people.

In consideration of all of the above, we urge government to:

1. Revert to the old price regime in order to reduce the suffering of the people and to consider this singular act of mindless pump price increase as a betrayal of trust;

2. Revert to the pre-45 percent electricity tariff increase, make meters available to consumers and stop estimated billing;

3. Reconstitute the boards of PPPRA and NNPC without further delay and give them their statutory right to function alongside DPR in order to deepen the process of consultation, checks and balances in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry;

4. Intensify the prosecution of all those involved in subsidy scams with a view to recovery and sanctioning of the culpable;

5. Put in place enhanced local refining capacity within a specified period in place of endless importation as an enduring solution to the perennial problem of scarcity;

6. Reverse the entire deregulation and privatization process which foists on the nation, private individuals as drivers of the economy in contravention of the constitutional provision that says government shall be the driver of the economy and engage the organised labour in the process of negotiation on key policy issues;

7. Wean itself from the overbearing influence of the neo-liberal elements in its fold who have not only staged a coup but are determined to make this government collapse even before the end of its four-year tenure;

8. Uphold its electioneering promises to Nigerians instead of subjecting them to the vagaries of slavish policies such as full devaluation of the naira and total removal of subsidy as enunciated by the IMF and its agents in the system.

In the event government fails to accede to these demands on or before 12 midnight on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and their civil society allies resolve to commence the following actions with effect from Wednesday, May 18, 2016:

1. Mobilize to the streets across the country, ordinary and helpless Nigerians to whom they owe the duty of protection;

2. Shut down all Banks, Sea and Airports, Government and private offices as well as Markets;

3. Commence indefinite nationwide strike action;

4. Fight/resist the machinations and cruelties of the neo-liberal forces in the government as part of the process of saving the government from itself and the generality of Nigerians from slavery.

Nigerians are therefore advised to stock sufficient food items that will last for a while for the prosecution of the current struggle against neo-liberal agenda in Nigeria.

For and on behalf of Nigerian Workers, Civil society allies and the Masses,

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni.
(President, NLC)

Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama (President, TUC)

About Dr. Ken

Medical Doctor, Publisher, Editor, Novelist, Playwright, Visionary Poet, Activist, Blogger
This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to INDEFINITE NATIONWIDE STRIKE: LABOUR UNIONS DARE BUHARI

  1. Alhaji Jibril says:

    Is this really the way forward?

  2. Ochuko says:

    Finally, we’re taking the bull by the horns.

    Imagine, VAT is to be increased to 10%, Nepa bills has already been increased, and now PMS with 50k charge per deposits, all these within one year. Not even a single job has been created apart from political appointments.

    This is terribly bad for a govt that just claimed they feel our pains.

  3. Mohammed says:

    Abeg let’s give Buhari a chance.

    Some things are already planned and they are fully budgeted for.

    Monthly stipends to the poor, free meal which will generate jobs for caterers and other people.

    Agricultural initiatives which is the way to go, Ajaokuta steel mill revival…

    At least those are initiatives in the midst of dwindling resources.

    Others will surely come.

    If it does not come fast enough, we will constructively presurise them to do so.

    • Johanna says:

      Even when the truth is obvious, some sycophants still speak in favour of subsidy removal. And the speed at which they carry out this campaign is amazing. If the increase in price is comfortable and welcoming, there will be no need for campaign. Nigerians, I believe, know what soothes them, campaign or no campaign.

  4. Mumuni A. says:

    Now, let’s imagine that Jonathan remained in power, we will still go through austerity. However corruption will still skyrocket and he will have no idea how to stop it.

    We would have been in a bigger soup.

    • Johanna says:

      Even when the truth is obvious, some sycophants still speak in favour of subsidy removal. And the speed at which they carry out this campaign is amazing. If the increase in price is comfortable and welcoming, there will be no need for campaign. Nigerians, I believe, know what soothes them, campaign or no campaign.

  5. Okon says:

    This govt is frustrating!

    Removing subsidy without any shock absorber is tantamount to anarchy and even chaos.

  6. Ibro says:

    ‘FEDERAL GOVT SHOULD HAVE CUSHIONED THE EFFECT OF SUDSIDY REMOVAL’

    That is the slogan. To me it is a corrupt statement. The problem with most Nigerians, irrespective of age, race or educational status, is that we have lived for so long with and/or in corruption, so much so that that we have become corrupted directly or indirectly; and so, we bring forth corruption from our corrupted system effortlessly.

    In fact, I see people preach corruption with almost a genuine zeal and emotion. They preach it with very good English, with perfect eloquence that will sweep even the incorruptible off his feet, if he/ she do not retreat to his/ her inner room to reason it out.

    When subsidy was in place, corrupt Nigerians( marketers) would hoard fuel and sell at N200/L while the currupt populace( Nigerians) bye it at that rate plus long queue without protest, even happily, to ‘show off’. Now subsidy is removed, the market is open to ensure availability at N145/L or less, and they say CUSHION THE EFFECT.

    Should there be cushioning? Yes, by you. Cushion it for yourselves. Everybody should do his or her own cushioning. If you can’t fuel your car, park it and enter public transport (taxi, keke napep, e.t.c.). You must not ride a car all the time. Or you can sell your car and bye a bicycle, you can treck. Have an opportunity cost, choose ur priorities.

    For how can you pass a very hard exam without preparing very well, even with sleepless nights, or how can you go to heaven without first dying. You can not eat your cake and have it. Take this opportunity, make a sacrifice, then we can expect the goods in the near future. Because, I feel like running to the wilderness because of our always divided nature without a head way.

  7. Akpan says:

    We all must speak out!

    And no APC sycophant should kick against the union. Everyone has the share of blames.

    Glaring promises of PMB have gone down the drain. Instead we have backlog of untold hardship and unpaid salaries.

    Revert now or fulfil your empty promises!!!

  8. Barr. Jones says:

    I knew this govt decision will meet resistance. NLC has asked us to stock our house with food varieties that will last for a while but where is the money for such when salary is not yet paid?

    Double wahala for Naija!

    I think NLC and govt should go to negotiate without putting us through more hardship than we faced already!!!

  9. Adamu says:

    Most Nigerians don’t realise we’ve been living in The Matrix. This subsidy removal is the red pill that may wake us up to reality.

    We are poor. We are broke. We’ve been raped, pillaged, looted and left for dead.

    All these years our economy has been sustained on the junk food of corruption. We have kwashiorkor but because we look chubby we think we are healthy.

    Those two bedrooms in Abuja going for N700 million. Those make up artists charging 500k and pre-wedding photo shoots for 700k. Aso ebi for 90k. Buying Rolexes and Ferraris. Range Rover Sport all over Lagos like keke napep.

    It is all fake. It’s all a mirage. We’ve all been living off the spoils of corruption. That’s why the country is so hard now. No money circulating. Because no money to steal and rent flats and shops for girlfriends. For civil servants to pay bogus tithes of N500k. For senators to spray dollars at their daughters’ weddings. For lagos big boys to spend N2m every Friday night at nightclubs.

    It’s time to face reality. The party is over. Now we may see the real Nigeria and Nigerians.

    Now that money will go into our roads and bridges and hospitals. It will benefit those who don’t have a rich corrupt uncle with connections in oil and gas. Those who can’t travel to Dubai to celebrate birthdays. Those who don’t know what Coldstone ice cream tastes like.

    Hopefully the real estate markets will crash. The theives with 15 houses in abuja will be forced to sell them fast for cash. I would prefer if EFCC seized and auctioned them, though.

    All those in the service industry will have to revaluate their pricing. You can’t charge 500k to paint faces anymore; free money don finish.

    Welcome to the real world!!!

  10. Yusufu says:

    NLC/TUC PROTEST IS A SCAM!!!

    I cannot support NLC on anything not to talk of strike.

    I remember vividly how myself and friends trek round Abuja in protest against subsidy removal in 2012 at the instance of Labour/TUC only for them to forfeit on the table with the Government of Jonathan and recieve settlement while we suffer on the street for nothing.

    The issue of subsidy removal has been lingering in Nigeria from one Government to another. Brethren, if we halt it again by following the unreliable NLC/TUC on these protest, we end up postponing the days of the evil monster called subsidy that will sooner than we expect shows it’s ugly head again.

    Pls, on whose side is NLC? Why are they against subsidy removal?
    I think an organised and sincere union is suppose to table there demands on the table. E.g, demand for #56,000 or more as our minimum wage or demand to join in monitoring the implementation of the funds accruing from the subsidy removal.

    To the best of my knowledge, the NLC/TUC has not task the FG on any but seems to be doing the bidding of another.

    Fellow Nigerians, if and when NLC/TUC engage the FG on these, they may only succeed in reducing the pump price and the monster called ‘fuel subsidy’ lives on our collective wealth at the detriment of infrastructural development.

    If we must subsidise, let the NLC/TUC demand that the FG diverts the subsidy to areas like; Health, Education and or Agriculture.

    A word is enough for the wise.
    STOP FEEDING THE RICH AT THE EXPENCE OF THE POOR.

    NLC/TUC are members of the Cabal or protecting their interest. NUPENG and PENGASSEN who are equally Labour Unions but directly under petroleum has dissociate themselves from these.

    NLC/TUC is a fraud and a cabal. Let them tell us there demands first.

  11. Jafaar says:

    Just think of how much Buhari’s journey since inauguration would have cost us even in this austerity and that is the more reason why people find it difficult to understand him and his policies.

  12. Chukwu says:

    Different people with their different interests. Who is fooling who? Nobody is talking about subsidy here, after all, government didn’t tell us that subsidy has been removed. As a matter of fact it’s just fuel price increase.

    I think NLC has a point here. Even if subsidy was to be removed, it shouldn’t be the first thing. Put some things in place to cushion the effect, that’s what a common man on the street is demanding from the government. See how prices of goods and services have skyrocketed.

    Nigerians!!!

  13. Anon says:

    The reasons for the removal of subsidies would have been justified. We could try so hard to forgive them for the opposition in the days of Jonathan. But Mr VP has made it clear that the hike has nothing to do with subsidy removal.

  14. Dr. CY says:

    Salaries not been paid.
    Food items skyrocketed.
    Tomatoes disappeared with change in the market.
    Fuel 4000 naira daily for car, and gen x 30 days = 120k.
    Economic hardship.
    This has been lingering on for many months.
    If dis govt is sensitive why won’t there be proper awareness and sensitization plus enlightenment over what they want to do since the direct impact is on masses?

    How many of our wives are gainfully employed? Maybe 30%. So 70% are breadwinners.

    School fees are there with other responsibilities.

    How many state workers can service our cars as at when due?

    Pls let’s be frank with ourselves!

  15. Dr. Dee says:

    The govt has made it clear that d increase has nothing to do with subsidy so even if NLC is protesting its not to bring back subsidy but to decrease d fuel price to affordable level or concomitant increase in minimum wage.

    I just hope CONMESS will be increased too bcos even Drs are finding it difficult to buy fuel at this exorbitant rate too.

  16. Prechy says:

    Hahahahahha! I love this country Nigeria, rich in human resources that can tolorate any hardship impossed on them. Soon they will start saying at least fuel is now available!!!

  17. Lawal says:

    Permit me to share this here.

    My Deregulation/Oil Subsidy Conundrum

    [Femi Gbajabiamila]

    14th May, 2016

    Over the years, I have been vociferous and faithful in my near fanatic opposition to the deregulation of the downstream oil sector if what it meant was the removal of fuel subsidy. If deregulation could be achieved without subsidy removal I was on board. I argued passionately against its removal at a time when most economic experts, talking heads and commentators were for it and when it was fashionable to support it. I have attached a copy of a rather caustic and scathing article and letter I wrote in 2010 to then Acting President Jonathan. I was at that time in the opposition and the then Leader of the Action Congress in Parliament. I will restate my position at the time.

    I felt there was something wrong with the notion that a country blessed with a natural resource should lack that resource or any of its by products. I believed that the citizens should have a marked advantage in the utility and consumption of that product over citizens of other countries not so blessed and to that extent the pricing of that product found in the country’s backyard should be different from international pricing. I gave examples such as the cost of tea in China, coffee in Brazil or coal in Sunderland. I felt as I still do, that there was something intrinsically whopped to have a natural resource in one’s backyard and at same time import same for consumption. Didn’t make sense to me. I argued then and still argue that if subsidy was to be removed we must put the cart before the horse and get our refineries working so as not to import our own God given resource. Then perhaps after that we could entertain a debate on subsidy removal. Even then many of us would still have argued for subsidizing even the production as opposed to its importation.

    During the 2012 subsidy debate, I argued vociferously and with a strong conviction, that the idea of palliatives was irrelevant as the palliative measures proposed by the government then such as infant mortality, child care, transportation etc were things that belonged to citizens as of right and which government under Chapter 2 of the constitution were obligated to provide and therefore government was in no way doing Nigerians a favour as you cannot give me something that’s already mine or at least should be and call it a palliative.
    I further argued that subsidy connoted something negative only in Nigeria and not in other countries that subsidized one thing or the other for the benefit of citizens. There is and has been for years subsidy for transportation in the UK, Agricultural Subsidy in the US and oil is subsidized in practically all major oil producing countries and we don’t hear as much as a whimper.

    Why then Nigeria? Proponents argued because it is riddled with fraud and corruption and benefits only 1 percent of the populace. I bellowed back , well then why don’t you block the loopholes for the perpetration of the fraud and corruption? Why must the innocent 99% and poor masses suffer or be penalized for the inefficiency of government and the corruption of a few. Is it possible to argue that a government with all the might and power at its disposal cannot deal with this 1%? I couldn’t get a reasoned answer.

    For me every spirited attempt to justify a removal of subsidy failed the common sense test or question of why Nigeria the 5th or 6th largest producer of crude (and the finest one at that) would be importing what it produced. There was definitely something nonsensical about such a proposition.

    This was the position I held on to steadfastly over the years. It is now 2016 and if my position has changed to an extent, I owe It to my primary and larger constituents and indeed all Nigerians explanation for the change.

    I was at the Presidential Villa Wednesday 11th where a stakeholders meeting involving the leadership of the National Assembly, Governors, Labour Leadership, State Minister of Petroleum, Ministers of Information and that of labour. The meeting was chaired by the Vice President. It was a consultative meeting ostensibly to get the buy in of stakeholders. I was pumped and ready to challenge any proposition for an increase in pump price and my position was known to most people I spoke with. However by the time the Hon Minister for petroleum finished his doomsday prognosis and gave a graphic account supported with facts and figures of where we where and where we would be in a matter of months if we did not alter the approach or fundamentally change the status quo, I had no option but to capitulate. It was the first time I had been confronted with such a gloomy picture. I found myself between a rock and a hard place. The facts were incontrovertible and the prognosis and consequences dire. We were in an economic cul-de-sac and the country was spiraling down fast due to no fault of this present administration. In fact it was clear that any responsible administration needed to apply the brakes, bring this to a screeching and painful halt and at least for now remove subsidy and deregulate. It was a short term remedy which all things being equal would produce a long term solution when the economy would have recalibrated. I struggled with my inner angel and knew this was the only way out. It was made abundantly clear to all seated that in 2 months there would be no federal allocation to states and no state would be able to pay salaries, including buoyant ones. The Nigerian nation was on tenterhooks. That’s how bad a picture it was. Indeed I was the first to ask questions after the presentation still looking for a way out when I knew there was none.

    Whilst I still believe in the principles I held on to so passionately years ago, including the need to bring any deregulation exercise in conformity with the law and the constitution, I believe this is such a time when we should look at the times we are in and our practical situation as a country. I believe (without sounding Trumpist) that Nigeria will be great again but we must rejig and reboot our economy and take another look at the subsidy regime. Many will say but why did some of us kick in 2012 and if it was not good then why is it good now. It’s a great question and they are right some but again the times are different. In 2012 we were earning a lot of money from oil. Oil was selling at about 100 dollars or thereabout. We had foreign exchange and petro dollars to continue with subsidy. Now things are different. The economy is comatose and Nigeria is on life support. Oil is selling at below 40 dollars and the currency (dollar) needed to purchase the refined petrol is no longer available.

    I want to plead with my constituents and all Nigerians to work with government. You are the most important stakeholders never mind those of us that gathered around a long table and cushy chairs in the Vice Presidents Office on Wednesday 11th to make this far reaching decision. We did so only in a representative capacity. I urge that you please give this government the benefit of doubt and lets take a chance on whether or not the analogy and parallel often drawn by proponents of deregulation in the oil industry to telecommunications industry may end up a truism and that the price of fuel in a lasses faire, free market will come crashing in months. Lets consider it a temporary sacrifice for the greater good with the hope that as promised we will be better off in the long term. This problem is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is instructive that other oil producing countries eg Bahrain, have been hit hard by the crash in oil price and are towing same line and reviewing their subsidy policies.

    With this new development I intend to fight with all I have for a review of the minimum wage of all workers in Nigeria . Our country was built on social justice and I cannot, no matter the realities, accept a situation where the cost of living will be increased without a corresponding increase in wages. The sacrifices that we need to make must be comprehensive. Indeed I believe the “wealthy” must not only pay their fair share of taxes, if need be there must be an upward review of taxes paid by the highest income earners to enable government review the wages of those on the lower rung. It is time to be our brothers’ keepers.

    I know this is a painful road to take and I hate that I have to flip flop on this one, but isn’t what they say “no pain no gain”.

    Femi Gbajabiamila
    Leader of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Abuja
    femigbaja1@gmail.com

    • Dr. Raff says:

      This is hypocrisy of the highest degree!

      The same people that dragged us 4years back are now preaching to us to accept the same medicine.

      My country is fantastically corrupt!

  18. Zibe says:

    For the records!!!

    NATIONAL BROADCAST BY PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR, ON THE DEREGULATION OF THE DOWNSTREAM PETROLEUM SECTOR SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2012

    Dear Compatriots,

    1. A week ago, I had cause to address Nigerians on the security challenges we are facing in parts of the country, which necessitated the declaration of a state of emergency in 15 Local Government Areas in four states of the Federation. That course of action attracted widespread support and a demonstration of understanding. With that declaration, government had again signaled its intention to combat terrorism with renewed vigour and to assure every Nigerian of safety.

    2. The support that we have received in the fight against terrorism from concerned Nigerians at home and abroad has been remarkable. We believe that it is with such continued support that progress can be made on national issues. Let me express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has expressed a commitment to support us as we strive to improve on the country’s security situation, and build a stronger foundation for the future. The recent mindless acts of violence in Gombe, Potiskum, Jimeta-Yola and Mubi are unfortunate. I urge all Nigerians to eschew bitterness and acrimony and live together in harmony and peace. Wherever there is any threat to public peace, our security agencies will enforce the law, without fear or favour.

    3. This evening, I address you, again, with much concern over an issue that borders on the national economy, the oil industry and national progress. As part of our efforts to transform the economy and guarantee prosperity for all Nigerians, Government, a few days ago, announced further deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. The immediate effect of this has been the removal of the subsidy on petrol.

    4. Since the announcement, there have been mixed reactions to the policy. Let me seize this opportunity to assure all Nigerians that I feel the pain that you all feel. I personally feel pained to see the sharp increase in transport fares and the prices of goods and services. I share the anguish of all persons who had travelled out of their stations, who had to pay more on the return leg of their journeys.

    5. If I were not here to lead the process of national renewal, if I were in your shoes at this moment, I probably would have reacted in the same manner as some of our compatriots, or hold the same critical views about government. But I need to use this opportunity as your President to address Nigerians on the realities on the ground, and why we chose to act as we did. I know that these are not easy times. But tough choices have to be made to safeguard the economy and our collective survival as a nation.

    6. My fellow Nigerians, the truth is that we are all faced with two basic choices with regard to the management of the downstream petroleum sector: either we deregulate and survive economically, or we continue with a subsidy regime that will continue to undermine our economy and potential for growth, and face serious consequences.

    7. As you all know, the subject of deregulation is not new, we have been grappling with it for more than two decades. Previous administrations tinkered with the pump price of petroleum products, and were unable to effect complete deregulation of the downstream sector. This approach has not worked. If it did, we would not be here talking about deregulation today. I understand fully well that deregulation is not a magic formula that will address every economic challenge, but it provides a good entry point for transforming the economy, and for ensuring transparency and competitiveness in the oil industry, which is the mainstay of our economy.

    8. As a President, elected and supported by ordinary Nigerians, and the vast majority of our people, I have a duty to bring up policies and programmes that will grow the economy and bring about greater benefits for the people. Let me assure you that as your President, I have no intention to inflict pain on Nigerians.

    9. The deregulation of the petroleum sector is a necessary step that we had to take. Should we continue to do things the same way, and face more serious economic challenges? Or deregulate, endure the initial discomfort and reap better benefits later? I want to assure every Nigerian that whatever pain you may feel at the moment, will be temporary.

    10. The interest of the ordinary people of this country will always remain topmost in my priorities as a leader. I remain passionately committed to achieving significant and enduring improvements in our economy that will lead to sustained improvement in the lives of our people.

    11. I am determined to leave behind a better Nigeria, that we all can be proud of. To do so, I must make sure that we have the resources and the means to grow our economy to be resilient, and to sustain improved livelihood for our people. We must act in the public interest, no matter how tough, for the pains of today cannot be compared to the benefits of tomorrow. On assumption of office as President, I swore to an oath to always act in the best interest of the people. I remain faithful to that undertaking.

    12. To save Nigeria, we must all be prepared to make sacrifices. On the part of Government, we are taking several measures aimed at cutting the size and cost of governance, including on-going and continuous effort to reduce the size of our recurrent expenditure and increase capital spending. In this regard, I have directed that overseas travels by all political office holders, including the President, should be reduced to the barest minimum. The size of delegations on foreign trips will also be drastically reduced; only trips that are absolutely necessary will be approved.

    13. For the year 2012, the basic salaries of all political office holders in the Executive arm of government will be reduced by 25%. Government is also currently reviewing the number of committees, commissions and parastatals with overlapping responsibilities. The Report on this will be submitted shortly and the recommendations will be promptly implemented. In the meantime, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies must reduce their overhead expenses.

    14. We are all greatly concerned about the issue of corruption. The deregulation policy is the strongest measure to tackle this challenge in the downstream sector. In addition, government is taking other steps to further sanitize the oil industry.

    15. To ensure that the funds from petroleum subsidy removal are spent prudently on projects that will build a greater Nigeria, I have established a committee to oversee the implementation of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme. I sincerely believe that the reinvestment of the petroleum subsidy funds, to ensure improvement in national infrastructure, power supply, transportation, irrigation and agriculture, education, healthcare, and other social services, is in the best interest of our people.

    16. Fellow Nigerians, I know that the removal of the petroleum subsidy imposes an initial burden on our people, especially the rising cost of transportation. Government will be vigilant and act decisively to curb the excesses of those that want to exploit the current situation for selfish gains. I plead for the understanding of all Nigerians. I appeal to our youth not to allow mischief-makers to exploit present circumstances to mislead or incite them to disturb public peace.

    17. To address the immediate challenges that have been identified, I have directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to embark immediately on all projects which have been designed to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal in the short, medium and long-term, as outlined in the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme Document.

    18. Tomorrow, 8th January, I will formally launch a robust mass transit intervention programme to bring down the cost of transportation across the country. The programme will be implemented in partnership with state and local governments, labour unions, transport owners, and banking institutions, and supported with the provision of funding at zero interest rate as well as import duty waiver on all needed parts for locally-made mass transit vehicles, which will create additional jobs in the economy.

    19. We will keep these incentives in place for as long as it takes. I want to assure you that Government will not rest until we bring down the cost of transportation for our people. Let me thank the transporters’ associations that have agreed to reduce transport fares. I have directed the Minister of Labour and Productivity to work with these associations to come up with a sustainable plan to guarantee this within the shortest possible time.

    20. In addition, I have ordered the mobilization of contractors for the full rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt –Maiduguri Railway Line and the completion of the Lagos-Kano Railway Line. I have also directed the immediate commencement of a Public Works programme that will engage the services of about 10, 000 youths in every state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. This will create an additional 370, 000 jobs.

    21. Government has taken these decisions in the best interest of our economy, so that we not only have benefits today, but to ensure that we bequeath even greater benefits to our children and grandchildren.

    22. Let me assure Nigerians that every possible effort will be made to ensure that we march forward, with a collective resolve to build a Nigeria that can generate greater economic growth, create and sustain new jobs, and secure the future of our children.

    23. This Administration will aggressively implement its programme to reposition and strengthen our economy, while paying adequate attention to the immediate needs of our citizens.

    24. I assure you all that we will work towards achieving full domestic refining of petroleum products with the attendant benefits.

    25. As I ask for the full understanding of all Nigerians, I also promise that I will keep my word.

    26. Thank you. May God bless you; and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

    Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR

    President

    Federal Republic of Nigeria

    January 7, 2012

  19. Lizzy says:

    It is a good move to remove the subsidies at this time but I don’t think the difference Is that much. In my opinion if NLC and others go on strike govt will come back to the real price they have in mind and not this 145 /liter. But certainly it must be removed to prevent the 35 oil marketers to over 170 million Nigerian from enjoying the money alone.

  20. Ebi says:

    #Copied

    Below are the capital projects that the N350 released by the FG is meant for. It is our civic responsibility to monitor the implementation of these projects.

    1. Dualization of Kano-Maiduguri Road (N13 b)
    2. Lagos-Ibadan Express. (N40 b)
    3. Benin-Sagamu Express (N8.7 b)
    4. Gombe-Numan-Yola (N2.8 b)
    5. Enugu-Onitsha (N5.5 b)
    6. Ibadan-Ilorin (N6 b)
    7. Second Niger Bridge (N13 b)
    8. Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekp. (N6 b)
    9. Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa (N4.4 b)
    10. Sokoto-Tambuwal-Kontagora-Makira (N8.8 b)
    11. Oju/Loko n Bridge (N14.2b)
    12. Kano-Katsina (N2.6 b)
    13. Sapele-Agbor Ewu (N2 b)
    14. Apapa-Oshodi-Oworoshok (N5b)

    Other projects would be listed soon.

    #PleaseMonitorTheImplimentation.

  21. Ebere says:

    APC and propaganda!

    When the same NLC was used by your leaders in 2012 to fight subsidy removal, they were good.

    During their election, when Buhari visited them in ICC and they declare support for him and subsequently were used to spread the C.H.A.N.G.E gospel, NLC were good.

    Now that they are against your mini god Buhari who many of you believe is Mr. Perfect and Mr. Know It All, NLC is now been called all manner of names.

    May God deliver all APC apologists from the darkness they find themselves.

  22. Umar says:

    Pretentious NLC!

    This is the bitter pill we must swallow and I hope it will in the long run take away the ‘suffering-in-the-midst-of-plenty’, somewhat like diabetes mellitus. Very scary but worth trying.

    PMB should do well to roll out at least short term palliative measures to ease the pains of the common man because countries subsidise something for their citizens, such as transportation, agriculture, etc. This is what NLC and CSOs should channel the energy towards.

    My impression about PMB stays, he isn’t a politician. Someone should tell me what he is, please.

  23. Jonah says:

    Sometimes in leadership one has to do what he thinks is the best even against the perception of the immediate lieutenants.

  24. Effiong says:

    One thing that I am not happy with is the manner communication was managed. PMB should have addressed us on the state of the nation and the economy and therefore the bitter prescription. This way his followers who trust him would have found it easy to accept.

  25. Ralph says:

    To strike is an inalienable right of Nigerians.

    Protests and dissents are democratic norms and attributes of good governance.

    It’s like a literary ‘Play Boy’ who got other people’s daughters pregnant. When he got married, all his children turned out to be berifu girls. Funny enough, he went and placed dogs at his gate and with the inscription ‘ANGELS ON GUARD’. What does he expect the angels to do for him? When he can’t police them around their schools, markets, school outings…

    To ask the masses, labour, civil societies and opposition not to cry out nor react is like beating a child and denying the child the right or privilege to cry.

  26. Moronke says:

    NLC said we should stock our houses with food.

    Hilarious, ain’t it?

    Please go to Osun where your ‘members’ are and tell them to ‘stock’ their houses with food bought from their salaries. Ondo is not too far. Tell them the same.

    Yes, tell them to spend from the regularly paid salaries you fought their respective state governments to ensure.

    Oh, yes. Thanks for fighting for them. They appreciate you. They love you. They will enter the streets with you come rain or heat (naija sun nor dey shine abeg na burn e dey burn).

    Thanks for occupying the petrol stations that had been selling above N200 for the past half-year.

    Thanks for occupying the National Assembly when they bought exotic cars despite lingering salary crisis in the country.

    Oh, thanks for profering we continually pay a cabal way more than what is required for our salaries.

    I do not want to sound ungrateful, dear NLC, for your concerns over our collective welfare, but please I am begging you – DO NOT CLOSE DOWN MY SHOP.

    Carry your placards and go!

    Ondo workers do not have money to waste on placards.

    DO NOT SHUT DOWN ANY BANK!

    Since you have agreed with the government that salary is a privilege by sitting back despite protracted non-payment, many have resorted to small businesses.

    DO NOT CLOSE DOWN THEIR SHOPS!

    There is no light to stock food biko, e go spoil.

    Where d tomato wey i wan stock sef?

    Let me have you know. I work in a private facility where time is money, and they pay. No excuses. No grammar from an unwilling yet affluent governor. You have chased us away from government work with your siddonlook attitude. Now you want to lock down everywhere just to be at the negotiation table to stock your accounts with forex, shey?

    Go and occupy BDCs, bikonu.

    The Excos dey enough. Una fit protest.

    Osinbajo eyaff blow small grammar, blow ya own. Dazz all u can do. We know.

    The weather is too hot. I cannot enter sun with you. I have been in the sun for long. Do not pretend to want to come and join me. I know you would leave me there again, soonest.

    Nor worry NLC, i dey okay for here. We don dey inside sun since dey OCCUPY QUEUE.

    We don lock down streets since cos we dey queue for fuel.

    We don lock up shops since cos we nor see fuel buy.

    Fuel don show market now, u dey yan.

    Where u been dey, NLC? Where?

    Dey ur lane abeg!!!

  27. Efosa says:

    NLC has just concluded its reconvened Stakeholders meeting and reaafirmed the declaration and commencement of a General Strike and Mass Protest across the country tomorrow.

    Convergence and Take Off point for Edo State is at Labour House by 7am. Please spread the information through all our networks and platforms.

    Mobilise Now! Organise Now! Act Now! Solidarity forever!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s