By Bimbola Oyesola
Organised labour has warned the Federal Government against further increase in the price of petroleum products.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC),yesterday, expressed shock on the planned increment in pump price of petrol as captured in a statement by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources following the recent rise in the price of crude oil in the international market.
“The TUC, nay organised labour is trying seriously to avert a major industrial crisis. We have tightened our belt so hard to the extent that we are finding it difficult to breathe, but the government seems not to care,” President of TUC, Quadri Olaleye said.
He wondered why the government was always quick to tell Nigerians about the rise in the price of crude in the international market and the need to increase the price of petrol, but takes weeks and sometimes months to implement agreement reached with organised labour.
“It all points to one thing: they have no mercy for the poor people of this country,” he said.
Olaleye said the statement by government officials on the need to increase fuel price depicted a set of people with a care-free attitude and indifference to the plight of citizens.
“It appears they are not disturbed by the poverty -ridden plight of Nigerians and the unemployment/insecurity situation that their obnoxious policies have created in the country,” he said.
While criticising the minister for the proposed increase of products price, Olaleye said Nigeria was among the six oil producing countries in the world.
“Reports have it that our oil is one of the best, giving us an edge over others, unfortunately we have not taken advantage of that.
“We have four refineries that are not functional. Why are they not functional and why is government closing its eyes to it? Their refusal to attend to them is the reason why the country is subjected to the vagaries and volatility of the price of crude in the international market.”
The labour leader said Nigeria was now depending on Dangote and Niger Republic refineries to supply her fuel, noting that Dangote is an individual while Niger Republic is far less than Lagos in population.
“The pain the masses of the country bear is a needless one. It is artificially created. Government’s knee is on our neck and we are appealing to them to have a change of heart,” he said.