Fuel Subsidy Removal: Labour leaders chide Senate President over claim
By Muhammad Muhammad
Leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) have chided the comment made by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan saying that President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of any plan to withdraw fuel subsidy in the country.
Solacebase had reported on Tuesday that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan while addressing journalists shortly after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari said the president explained that he did not directed the removal of fuel subsidy.
The labour veterans who insisted there was no way President Buhari would claim ignorance of the move to remove subsidy however urged the Senate president to desist from creating confusion in the country.
The labour leaders who made the remarks yesterday during the Kano state congress meeting of NLC declared that labour will not accept any strategy of the government to withdraw the fuel subsidy and increase in pump price.
Former NLC deputy President, Comrade Isa Tijani said the Minister of Finance and Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), statements on fuel subsidy removal cannot be without President Buhari’s approval.
Comrade Isa further challenged the president to rather come out openly to address Nigerians on the government stand on fuel subsidy, which the labor leader said remains the only antidote to raging doubt and speculations.
“How could a president of a country in a matter as sensitive as removal of fuel subsidy, when the GMD NNPC confirmed and minister of finance also confirmed the planned removal, only for him to say he was not aware. Are these senior government officials acting on his behalf or outside his directive? Would they have the right to do something without his knowledge, is that possible?
” Let the Senate president not come and confuse Nigerians the more because we would not make any move to withdraw the subsidy. And in any case, why wouldn’t the president come out himself to announce that government is not and will not remove the subsidy. If the statement comes from the president as the C in C, will take it but any other person, it is no for an answer.
“The GMD NNPC has told us many lies that Nigerians can no longer trust. He said by the middle of 2021, our four refineries would be repaired the refineries are not fixed as we speak. They promised to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt refinery they have allegedly burnt some part of it. Government should be able to face the oil cartels by ensuring our refineries are fixed are start working I it then and only then the government can talk of removing the subsidy” Isa noted.
On his part, former NLC General Secretary, Comrade Salisu Mohammad knocked the government for spending billions of naira in the name of maintenance of refineries without result, challenged President Buhari to fulfill his campaign promises on blocking corruption in the country.
Comrade Salisu worried that instead of fixing the moribund refineries to ease the price of locally consumed oil, the present administration has spent billions of dollars on fuel importation while encouraging corrupt endemic cartels to siphon commonwealth in the name of subsidy.
” Yes, I believe Federal Government is spending more than what they claim on subsidy and that is callously irresponsible. It is callous because Nigeria is the only country that produces oil and is unable to refine its crude for local consumption. We have four refineries rendered in dilapidated conditions and a state of disused.
“The government is allocating a huge amount of money in the name of turning around maintenance but the refineries are unable to produce a little. And in the last 10 years alone, the government has shank over 9 billion US dollars in the name of turning the refineries around and the expenditure continues.
“Now we continued to send our crude abroad for refining as long as that continues Nigeria will not be able to manage oil price and we would be subjected to the international control price mechanism. President has promised the country to fix the refineries not only that, he has promised to build a new refinery.”