From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
In spite of government’s U-turn, the NLC, yesterday, issued a petition to the 36 governors against the Federal Government’s proposed subsidy removal.
The petition, signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Emanuel Ugboaja entitled: “Petition by Nigerian Workers Against the Proposed Increase in the Price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), sought the governors interventions as members of the National Economic Council (NEC) to convey the congress’ persuasions and demands to the Federal Government.
In the document, the Congress demanded that the Federal Government announce withdrawal of its plans to increase the pump price of petrol.
It also asked government to re-engage organsed labour in discussions to find mutually acceptable solutions to issues in the country’s downstream petroleum sub-sector.
NLC further tasked governments at all levels to take immediate steps to improve governance and public accountability in order to regain the confidence of Nigerians that the cardinal constitutional mandate of guaranteeing the welfare and security of the people has not been traded off.
The Congress warned that it would be forced to “down tools” once government proceeds to force another round of petrol price increment on Nigerians. It maintained that increasing the pump price of PMS would only bring untold hardship to Nigerian workers, their families and the populace at large.
According to the Organised Labour, the January 27 planned nation wide is aimed at alerting the government on the sufferings that Nigerians were going through and the additional insufferable trauma that Nigerians would be subjected to if it goes ahead with the hike in the price of refined petroleum products.
The petition read in parts: “The Federal Government should demonstrate seriousness and commitment to overhauling our local refineries as a lasting panacea to mass importation of refined petroleum products, importation pricing model, and a host of lost opportunities, official corruption and self-inflicted dislocations occasioned by mass importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria; and
“Governments at all levels in Nigeria should take immediate steps to improve governance and public accountability in order to regain the confidence of Nigerians that the cardinal constitutional mandate of guaranteeing the welfare and security of Nigerians has not been traded off.”
NLC argued that large amounts spent on petrol subsidy would be unnecessary if the government was committed to adequately managing national assets, especially the nation’s local refineries.
“Nigerian workers also appreciate the fact that the monies spent on the so-called petrol subsidy would be totally unnecessary if the government is alive to its responsibilities of proper management of critical national assets especially our local refineries.
“It is the mismanagement of our four public oil refineries over the years by successive governments that have opened the floodgates of mass importation of refined petroleum products and consequently unfurled incessant increases in the prices of refined petroleum products in Nigeria. The fact is very clear – there is no way a country can control the price of what it does not produce.