The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Tuesday, expressed displeasure over the pronouncement by President Bola Tinubu that the subsidy is gone without consulting relevant stakeholders and putting in place adequate measures to cushion its effect on workers.
NLC in a statement by its President, Comrade Joe Ajaero noted with regret that a few hours after the pronouncement, some marketers shut down their filling states and immediately there was a price hike in some places.
While describing the action as insensitive, the NLC President said it has brought tears and sorrow to millions of Nigerians instead of the renewed hope the administration has promised.
He also said that President Tinubu’s pronouncement has devalued the quality of the lives of Nigerians by over 300 per cent and counting.
The statement read: “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are outraged by the pronouncement of President Bola Tinubu removing ‘fuel subsidy without due consultations with critical stakeholders or without putting in place palliative measures to cushion the harsh effects of the ‘subsidy removal’.
Within hours of his pronouncement, the nation went into a tailspin due to a combination of service shutdowns and product price hikes, in some places representing over 300 per cent price adjustment.
“By his insensitive decision, President Tinubu on his inauguration day brought tears and sorrow to millions of Nigerians instead of hope. He equally devalued the quality of their lives by over 300 per cent and counting.
It is no heroism to commit against the people this level of cruelty at any time, let alone on an inauguration day. If he is expecting a medal for taking this decision, he would certainly be disappointed to receive curses for the people of Nigeria consider this decision not only a slight but a big betrayal.
On our part, we are staunchly opposed to this decision and are demanding and immediate withdrawal of this policy.”
NLC argued that the pronouncement has ripple effects on the economic well-being of the people
He said, “The implications of this decision are grave for our security and well-being.
“We wonder if President Tinubu gave a thought to why his predecessors in office refused to implement this highly injurious policy decision.
“We also wonder if he also forgot the words he penned down on January 8, 2012, but issued on January 11, 2012.
We have chosen to reproduce substantial parts of the statement for the benefit of those who did not have the opportunity of reading it then.
“As Nigerians gathered with family and friends to celebrate the New Year, the federal government was baking a national cake wrapped in the scheme that would instantly make the New Year a bitter one.
“Barely had the public weaned itself from last year when government dropped a historic surprise on an unsuspecting nation. PPPRA issued a statement abolishing the fuel subsidy. By this sly piece of paper, the federal government breached the social contract with the people.
This government….has turned its back on the collective will. By bureaucratic fiat, government made the most fateful economic decision any administration has made since the inception of the Fourth Republic and it has done so with an arrogant wave of the hand as if issuing a minor regulation. Because of the terrible substance of the decision and the haughty style of its enactment, the people feel betrayed and angry.
“At this moment, we know not to where this anger will lead. In good conscience, we pray against violence. Also in good conscience, it is the duty of every citizen to peacefully demonstrate and record their opposition to this draconian measure that is swiftly crippling the economy more than it will ever cure it.
By taking this step, the government has tossed the people into the depths of the midnight sea. Government demands the people swim to safety under their own power, claiming the attendant hardship will build character and add efficiency to the national economy. It is easy to make these claims when one is dry and onshore.
Government would have us believe that every hardship it manufactures for the people to endure is a good thing. This is a lie. The hardships they thrust upon the poor often bear no other purpose than to keep them poor. This is such a time…..
“Though someday, Nigeria will have to remove the subsidy, the time to do it is not now. This subsidy removal is ill-timed and violates the condition precedent necessary before such a decision is made. First, the government needs to clean up and throw away the salad of corruption in the NNPC.
“Then, proceed to lay the foundation for a mass transit system in the railways and road network with long-term bonds and fully develop the energy sector towards revitalizing Nigeria’s economy and easing the burden any subsidy removal may have on the people.
“But we know this is about more than the fuel subsidy. It is about the government’s ideas on the role of money in bettering the lives of people, about the relationship between the government and the people and about the primary objective of the government’s interaction with the economy. It is about whom, among Nigeria’s various social classes, does government most values.
“This is why the public reaction has been heated. It is not so much that people have to spend more money. It is because people feel short-changed and sold out.