The Concerned Citizens Project (CCP) has described the planned protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) against the intended removal of fuel subsidies by the federal government as misguided, unwise and self-defeating.
National Coordinator of CCP, Dr Bello Musa Gwani and National Secretary Sylvester Koni in a statement in Abuja Monday cautioned.
the leaders of NLC and TUC to rise up to their duties and stop playing to gallery or the books of some elites who are benefitting immensely from the petroleum subsidy. NLC and TUC needs to get their acts together by putting future and survival of Nigeria first.
“The intended strike and protest will put a halt on the operations of government offices, banks, shopping centres and schools, transportation workers and will also significantly affect the informal sectors including markets and local transportation services. This will cause an untold hardship on Nigerians and have significant damaging effect on an already struggling economy. Paralysing the country of more than 200 million people, majority of the citizens live on daily wage will be highly irrational.
“Moreover, considering the delicate security situation in the country, it will be of great concern that provocateurs and anarchist can hijacked such protests and demonstrations, or hide under the cover of protestors and promote discord, anarchy and unleash mayhem to the detriment of public peace. We have all witness how criminal elements hijacked the End SARs protest, and the amount looting and burning that took place, while turning into tribal violence and killings in some states. Similarly, politicians and other interests beyond the implementation of the deregulation policy can hijacked the national protest to derive personal and selfish agendas. It is thus imperative for NLC and TUC leaders to avoid putting Nigeria in such delicate security situation.
“For most oil producing countries, high oil prices means high government earning, more spending on education, health, infrastructure, poverty alleviation etc. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the Nigeria, as the high profit margin earn from high oil price is largely swallowed by petroleum subsidy. If NLC and TUC leaders are not in terms with the proposed stoppage to paying petroleum subsidy despite the glaring evidences of the failure of the scheme, they can explore other avenues to prevent high petroleum price in the country.
“One important option is to engage with the government to find a more suitable solution. For example by putting pressure on the government to revamp the three national refineries (in Kaduna, Warri and Port-Harcourt) which can play a significant role in easing the pressure on our forex reserve thus strengthening our currency. A strong Naira and local refining capacity will make the petroleum products cheap even without subsidies. In addition if these refineries are revamped, hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created, thus creating a multiplier effect in the fight against poverty and the growth of our economy,” the statement said.