The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is opposed to the federal government’s plan to give N8,000 to 12 million Nigerians and the new pump price of petroleum items.
Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr.Mele Kyari, announced on Tuesday that the new price for the petroleum product in all of its outlets would be N617, while the Federal Government announced plans a few days ago to lift 12 million Nigerians with N8,000 monthly to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
Mr. Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC, responded on Channels Television’s Politics Today by calling the new pump price “anti-people.”
The money and the sum stated to be captured by the government’s palliative programme, he added, are both completely rejected by the labour union.
He said: “I think Nigerians are being deceived. In the first instance, going by the claim that the independent marketers are now bringing the product into the country, Nigerians would want to know how many are involved in this.
“Nigerians also want to know the role of the NNPC in the current dispensation. NNPC cannot import and claim the fuel is imported by independent marketers.
“Furthermore, the government withdrew subsidy from PMS and while we were discussing the aftermath of the withdrawal, another price increase.
“Now, why would the government go to court to seek a court injunction? Why will the government take other measures if it is not its business”, he queried.
“It is like Nigerians have entered a rein when Nigerians are being punished unnecessarily and where lies are the order of the day.
“I think clearly, the government is toiling with Nigerians and it is a reign of impunity.
“If the same government is approving N70 billion for the members of the National Assembly to buy vehicles and furniture but you’re increasing the cost of fuel, should the removal of subsidy affect only the poor?
“This policy will further increase the margin between the poor and the rich as it is clear that the government is taking away all the benefits meant for the poor and being given to the rich.
“Government is provoking Nigeria and attacking workers, students and others.
“Labour is not involved in the arithmetic of fuel price fluctuation. We can only make a better informed decision when we understand what the government is trying to do and what it has done so far.”
On the palliatives, Ajaero counters: “The N8,000 to 12 million households in Nigeria is another issue. How did the government arrive at the statistics it is reeling out?
“We, at NLC, have rejected that because we are not clear on how and where the government got the statistics it is relying on for the planned palliatives.”
“There is a committee in place between government and labour to work out the modalities. The government cannot set up the committee and go back to do another thing. This is unacceptable.
On what the NLC will do in view of the fuel price increase, Ajaero said: “We’ll meet to make a decision and best to address the new development.”