Labour Threatens To ‘Shut Down Nigeria’ Over Fuel Price Increase
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said they are not backing out from the threat turn into the threats in protest to the planned hike in petrol price and electricity tariff.
The group under the auspices of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) said in a new year message, that they have had enough of what it labeled anti-people policies and would not tolerate such any longer.
In the message signed by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, congress declared that Nigerians “have suffered enough and will not endure more punishment by way of further petrol and electricity price increases.”
They hinged their opposition on four points including “deceit and duplicity associated with the politics of ‘petrol price increase’ by successive Nigerian governments” and government’s inability to make the nation’s refineries function.
“The truth is that the perennial increase by government of the pump price of petrol is actually a transfer of government failure and inability to effectively govern to the poor masses of our country.
“We are talking of the failure of government to manage Nigeria’s four oil refineries and inability to build new ones more than thirty years after the last petrochemical refinery in Port Harcourt was commissioned; the failure to rein in smuggling and the failure to determine empirically the quantity of petrol consumed in Nigeria.
“The shame takes a gory dimension with the fact that Nigeria is the only OPEC country that cannot refine her own crude oil. During the negotiations that trailed the last increase in petroleum prices, Organised Labour made a cardinal demand on government which is that it must take immediate steps to revamp and rehabilitate Nigeria’s refineries.
“A Technical Committee was set up to monitor progress in this regard. As we all know, the work of the Technical Committee like our abandoned public refineries has ground to a halt and further negotiations with government adjourned sine die for nearly one year now.
“As a responsible social partner, we have at different times called on government to show us what they are doing in response to our demands but silence is the response we get.
“All we hear from government are half-hearted media pronouncements on efforts to allocate funds for the rehabilitation of our public refineries. On ground, there is no commensurate action.
“Between 2012 and now, about $9.5 billion has been spent on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM), Greenfield Refinery Projects and even public investments in private refineries.
“The tragedy is that despite these humungous investments of public funds, government continues to present the crisis of mass importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria and the consequent import-based pricing regime of refined petroleum products as a fait accompli.