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Subsidy Removal: We’ll shut Nigeria down – TUC

President Goodluck Jonathan’s government may enter the new year with great economic instability should he go ahead with the removal of the fuel subsidy as he has proposed, as the labour and civil society groups in the country have threatened to bring the nation to a halt and make the country ungovernable should he fail to rescind his decision.

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele made this declaration while addressing journalists on Friday. He said that the Labour movement and the Civil Society groups were united in their decision to resist the government’s anti-people policy.
“The way they are going, they want the fence of the Nigerian nation to fall, and I can say that the effect of the whole deregulation will be on the economy; they are only thinking of the additional money that will come to their pocket and not the impact on the whole economy and the overall effect on ordinary citizens”, he said.

The TUC President disclosed that the highest organ of the labour group, the National Executive Council (NEC) would meet in November to make a pronouncement on the government’s decision, adding that the labour and civil society groups would endeavour to provide a platform for all Nigerians to see the evil in the removal of the fuel subsidy by the government.

Esele who had on several occasion warned the government against removal of fuel subsidy except all necessary infrastructure are in place, alleged that government is broke and desperately looking for where it can get cheap money to finance its projects without first pruning its re-current expenditure.
“Government pays N11billion on salary yearly with the new minimum wage to its workers, but how much is being spent to maintain ministers, special advisers, senior special advisers, ambassadors, governors, commissioners and national assembly members yearly? he queried.

He reasoned that constituency project scheme is another fraudulent way politicians rip-off the nation, wondering why the government was not interested in plugging all the leakages but only concerned about further impoverishing Nigerians through the proposed removal of fuel subsidy.
In a related development, the President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) has however vowed to shut down all the oil installations immediately it is convinced that government would not renege on her plan. To show its seriousness, the Union said it would shut down all the oil and gas installations in Warri zone of the Niger Delta from tomorrow.

According to the President of the Union, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, the action was in protest of the incessant assault on the oil workers who he said were being kidnapping on a daily basis.
“We are fed up with the situation in the sector, our members are being kidnapped everyday while the unions are made to pay the ransom. We are paying through our nose and what has the government done? They only call for meeting without coming up with the solution, we believe that time has come for a change’’, he said.

Comrade Ogun said that it was unfortunate that the federal government could challenge Nigerians to a duel by going on air to make such a sensitive statement about the removal of fuel subsidy.“Government cannot just take that decision of impoverishing Nigerians because they want to save money to run government when we are not sure that that the money will be used for Nigerians”, he stated. The PENGASSAN boss noted that the two unions in the sector had earlier advised government on what should be done to mitigate the effect of the subsidy removal on Nigerians, but lamented that the government had done nothing almost four years later.

His words: “The dredging has not been done, expansion of the refineries has not been done, refurbishment of refineries has not been done and other additional associated things have not been put in place yet and the government is talking of removing subsidy.“So if you are removing subsidy and making Nigerians to pay for the laxity of people in government, then it is just to punish Nigerians. If government removes subsidy without proper agreement with us, we will ground the country to a halt.’’

The labour leader stated that those running government do not have the overall power to sit down in their bedroom and remove subsidy without thinking of the consequence on Nigerians.“Government must be responsible, we are going to tell them. It is not compulsory to work, we are ready not to work and not to be paid, but let Nigeria go to a halt because Jonathan and PDP does not own Nigeria alone’’, he stressed.
The Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero,in an interview with the Sunday Sun on the issue stated that the position of the Congress on the removal of subsidy remains consistent.

“Our position is clear. It is a ruse. We will resist it, nothing has happened to change our position. The way they are going about it, we are going to be more forceful about our conditions. If they like let them do it today, our position remains the same’’, he maintained.

 -Sun

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Posted by on Oct 9 2011. Filed under Latest Politics, Oil Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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