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“Nigerians Can’t Be Made To Suffer For Failure Of Refineries” – NLC Rejects Fuel Price Hike

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the fuel price hike from between N158 and N162 per litre to N168 and N170.

Recall that the NLC had in September threatened to embark on strike over a similar hike in the price of fuel. But the congress shelved the threat after negotiations with the Federal Government

In a statement issued by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, on Monday, he stated that the recent hike was “against the spirit and content” of what organised labour agreed with government in September.

While condemning the hike, he argued that Nigerians cannot be made to suffer for the failure of the government to manage the refineries.

Wabba said the hike has worsened the level of anguish in the country.

He further noted that the hike has also “cast in very bad light our utmost good faith with regards to government explanations that it lacks funds to continue bankrolling the so-called subsidy payments as such would sooner than later cripple the entire economy, throw the country into severe economic crisis and cause loss of jobs in millions.”

The NLC president stressed that the nation would not have been in this situation if the government had been alive to its responsibilities, adding that there’s a limit to what the citizens can tolerate if the price hike led to increase in the cost of foods and services.

He asked the government to declare a state of emergency in the downstream petroleum sector and as a follow up to this, enter into contract refining with refineries closer home.

“We need to see big-time petroleum smugglers arraigned in the court of law and made to pay for their crimes against the Nigerian people. Government has the resources available to it to ensure this economic justice to Nigerians,” the statement read.

“The question in the minds of many Nigerians is whether the government is willing to go against major financiers of the major political parties known to the public as the architects of the current national woe.”

Wabba faulted the government’s dependence on the Dangote refinery to satisfy the nation’s petrol needs, describing it as “strange.”

He emphasised the need for a review of the process of licensing for modular and bigger refineries.

“In line with our recent agreement with the government, we will be receiving updates in the next few days from our unions in the petroleum sector which have been given the mandate to keep surveillance on government promise to overhaul our public refineries.

“We will also receive updates from our representatives in the electricity review committee. The updates we receive will determine whether the government has kept to its side of the bargain which is to take serious steps to recover and reposition our public refineries.

“The outcome of this engagement will determine our response in the coming days. But while we are at that, we condemn the recent price increase and we call for its reversal with immediate effect,” the statement added.

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