26th February, 2012
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has accused the Federal Government of creating artificial fuel scarcity across major parts of the country to blackmail Nigerians into accepting an increase in the price of the product, which it says is the ultimate goal of the government.
It said the government was aiming at removing the remaining part of the subsidy thus forcing Nigerians to buy a litre of the premium motor spirit at N140 in the nearest future, adding that it would resist such attempt.
There have been reports of fuel scarcity in places like Abuja, Port Harcourt and Bayelsa in the last one week.
In a statement signed by NLC Acting General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa, the NLC also said the “artificial scarcity” of petrol was a ploy to pressure the National Assembly (NASS) to stop the probe into the wholesale fraud in the oil industry.
“The contrived scarcity is an unholy alliance between major oil marketers and various government agencies.
“The claim by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria that the patriotic probe into the corruption-ridden oil sector by the NASS has created “uncertainties” and loss of confidence by the financial institutions which has translated into fuel scarcity is ridiculous.
“Banks cannot be scared to work with honest businesses as the marketers are claiming, and the country cannot be blackmailed to allow fraudsters continue to dominate the oil sector,” NLC said.
It assured the National Assembly that labour and Nigerians are behind “its probe into the age long theft of our oil wealth and the fleecing of the country through the inflation of the subsidy on fuel,” stressing that the future of the country lies in the ability, determination and the political will of the leaders to tackle corruption, which it said has become cancerous and threatening the country’s existence.
NLC further lamented that the very people who contributed to the present state of affairs in the oil industry are those claiming to be sanitising it by setting up a plethora of committees allegedly to cleanse the industry.
It described the committees so far set up in the oil sector as politically motivated and said rather than find solutions to the myriads of challenges in the industry, they have compounded the bureaucracy in government and increased the cost of governance contrary to President Goodluck Jonathan’s 16 January, 2012 pledge to the country that the cost of governance would be reduced.
While warning that the President and his government have no alternative but to live up to government’s promise that the people would enjoy the increase in the fuel price from N65 to N97 per litre, it said “the claims by some government officials that the mass protests organised by Labour and its allies which led to the reduction of a litre of PMS from N140 to N97 has made the fulfilment of the promise impossible is childish. It is like a dull, inattentive pupil blaming the teacher for his failure.”
It said Nigerians are no longer interested in excuses, but good governance and the dividends of democracy.