Another Fuel Hike Will Collapse Your Govt, NLC Warns Jonathan

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NIGERIA Labour
Congress, NLC, yesterday advised President Goodluck Jonathan against further
increases in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, warning that such
increases would collapse the government. Reacting to President Jonathan’s claim that only the removal of
fuel subsidy will allow for domestic refining of fuel, NLC in a statement by
its President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, noted that President Jonathan’s claim
was not only highly disturbing, but dishonest to Nigerians.

The statement
contended that the January protests would seem a child’s play compared to what
might follow any attempt to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil
industry, which in government language meant increases in pump price of fuel.

According to the statement, “With the wave of revelations
regarding monumental corruption in the Petroleum industry it will be
unimaginable to contemplate any other thing than focusing on ridding the
industry of the endemic corruption that has become so pervasive in the
industry.  Nigerians would love to see President Goodluck Jonathan
dissipate energy on fighting corruption in the industry as he promised
Nigerians. All those so far indicted in corrupt practices in the Fuel Subsidy
scam have not yet been prosecuted. More revelations on corruption keep coming
out by the day. The argument proffered that domestic refining of Petroleum
products is only possible under private operators cannot be defended. Our
refineries were built and operated successfully as fully public owned
enterprises in the past until the industry was massively inflicted with
corruption and home for corrupt government officials and their cronies, the
refineries functioned well.”
“Today, the problem with the petroleum industry is largely lack of
decency and political will on the part of the government to deal with those who
have already been identified as having corruptly enriched themselves with funds
meant for the industry. We believe Mr. President is not being honest with Nigerians
about the real problems of the industry. The same President who set up several
committees to identify the crisis in the industry and who have been given
detailed reports by the committees cannot validly say he is still helpless.
Some of the committees, including those set up by the National Assembly,
particularly the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee led by Hon. Farouk
Lawal identified not just the problems of the industry but specifically named
individuals and companies who have diverted subsidies meant for the industry to
private use. Majority of them are political associates of those in power.
 Indeed, the President has been seen severally hobnobbing in public with
some of the key persons indicted by the reports.”
Continuing NLC said “In a decent society, all those who have been
indicted by all the reports would have been facing accelerated prosecution or
serving severe jail terms for committing economic crimes injurious to public
interest.  As at this moment, N1.7 trillion meant to subsidize the
industry has been diverted by identified private individuals and companies and
the government is not in any hurry to prosecute the alleged thieves. We can’t
therefore understand why the President is in so much haste to inflict deeper
poverty on Nigerians.’’
When government kept silent over the prevailing scarcity of
petroleum products in the country, we alerted Nigerians that it was clear the
government was testing grounds for further increases in fuel prices and we wish
to reiterate our resolute rejection of such attempts.”
“No responsible government will allow private interests to hold
her hostage against the collective interests of the people. It is becoming
apparent that those in power seem more inclined serving individual interests
than protecting our collective treasures. And we will massively mobilize
Nigerians against his new anti people plans.
While the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Federal
Ministry of Petroleum has the responsibility to ensure consumers are not
shortchanged by marketers, the DPR, security and other government agencies
watch helplessly as marketers sell far above the official rates.
They are even bold enough to display the unilaterally fixed new
prices in their pump meters. These cannot be reigning under a serious government.”
“The crisis that will welcome any announcement of further
withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum products will be so monumental and so far
reaching than envisaged by anyone.
The January protests would seem a child’s play compared to what
might follow any attempt to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil
industry.

This government has
more than enough reports and details to commence a honest process of punishing
those in illegal possession of our collective wealth rather than inflict more
pains on Nigerians, while industries and virtually all public infrastructures
have collapsed

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