The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that it was appalled by the latest hike in pump price of petrol.
NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said this in a statement issued on Tuesday, adding that the union restrained itself from making further comments publicly on the “vexatious issues around the recent but unfortunate unilateral hike in the price of PMS in the guise of the so-called subsidy withdrawal, which has unleashed predictably as we had earlier warned unimaginable and unprecedented hardship, sorrow, anguish and suffering upon Nigerian workers and masses.”
He said while their patience was anchored on their strong and abiding faith in the outcomes of the processes of social dialogue and its mechanisms, especially within a democratic setting, “the government of Nigeria seems to have been misled into believing that resorting to impunity and imperiousness in governance in a democracy is a beneficial option as it pursues its stated and unstated objectives.”
“It is this belief that we are sure has continued shaping the actions of this government since its inauguration on the 29th day of May, 2023 to continue inflicting mindless and heartless pains on the populace one after the other without the decency of embracing the tenets of democracy, which requires wide and deep stakeholder consultation on weighty matters of state.
“As it stands, rather than reciprocate the goodwill of Nigerian workers, the federal government has insisted on threading the path of dictatorship and seeking to impoverish the people further by taking steps that can only be described as robbing the people of Nigeria to pay and feed the rich.
“It is on this basis that the NLC strongly condemns the decision of the Tinubu led administration to seek the approval of the National Assembly to obtain another tranche of external loans worth N500bn from the World Bank for the purposes of carrying out a phantom palliative measure to cushion the effect of its poorly thought-out hike in the prices of Premium Motor Spirit. Remember that the U$800m, which was already proposed before the devaluation of the Naira by this government was worth about N400bn then but is now worth about N650bn after devaluation. It is from this, it proposes to bring out N500bn for distribution.
“The proposal to pay N8,000 to each of the so-called 12 million poorest Nigerian households for a period of six months insults our collective intelligence and makes a mockery of our patience and abiding faith in social dialogue, which the government may have alluded to albeit pretentiously,” he said.
The labour leader also frowned at the proposal to pay National Assembly members the sum of N70 billion and the judiciary N36 billion, among others, saying, “this is the most insensitive, reckless and brazen diversion of our collective patrimony into the pockets of public officers whose sworn responsibility it is to protect our nation’s treasury.”
He added that it appeared the federal government was only deceiving Nigerians on how to manage the subsidy removal for the benefit of all.
“It is important to inform Nigerians that despite having shown our readiness to commence work in the committees, the federal government, which convenes the meetings, is yet to inaugurate the National Steering Committee thus stalling the work of the proposed committees.
“We do not want to provide a cover for the government to get away with the hardship it has imposed on the people. We do not want to legitimise impunity.
“As a result, if the government does not want to stop these fortuitous actions that it is pursuing in the name of palliatives, we will be forced to constructively review our engagement with the government on this vexatious issue and take matters into our own hands,” the NLC president added.