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NLC Alleges International Conspiracy against Nigeria’s Downstream Petroleum Sector

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has raised the alarm over what it described as an international conspiracy, working with local collaborators to keep the Nigerian economy and people perpetually on their knees through the under-development of the country’s downstream petroleum sector.

The labour union has also claimed that about $9.5 billion had been spent on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM), and Greenfield refineryprojects since 2012 without government being able to resolve the crisis of mass importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria.

It also said that in line with the directives of its National Executive Council (NEC), the councils in seven states – Zamfara, Abia, Imo, Cross River, Kogi, Benue and Taraba have been asked to commence industrial actions against their state governments for failure to implement the new national minimum wage and pension.

In a message issued by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, to mark the New Year, the union said that it suspected foul play and sabotage in the inability and unwillingness of successive governments in the country to resolve the crisis of the under-development of Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector.

It regretted that successive governments in Nigeria had failed to take strategic advantage of the country’s natural endowment in oil and gas especially her prime position as the highest producer of crude oil in Africa to expand the economy, induce economic growth and engender sustainable national development.

The union regretted that as a major oil-producing country in the world and after nearly 70 years of oil exploration in Nigeria, the country cannot deliver on efficient and effective public petroleum refineries.

“Today, instead of referring to crude oil as the blessing that it is, we now commonly describe this gift of God to Nigeria as “Resource Curse,” the union said.

Pointing at the efforts being made by the country’s foremost industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, in building a refinery, NLC said the inability of the federal government to invest in the rehabilitation of the four public refineries and building of new refineries amounted to short-sightedness.

Reacting to the federal government’s alleged plan to increase the price of petrol, NLC said that it would go ahead with the nationwide protest scheduled for January 27.

NLC said the January 27 protest in the states would culminate in the submission of protest letters to the 36 state governors and subsequently, on February 1, 2022, there would be a national protest to be held in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We urge Nigerian workers and people to dust their sneakers and fully participate in the peaceful protests and rallies aimed at salvaging our economic future,” it said.

The union argued that the suggestion by the government that the remedy to the downstream petroleum sector is to stop further payment of the so-called petrol subsidy is akin to cutting one’s nose in order to spite one’s face.

It described the idea of paying transport allowances “as robbing ourselves to pay ourselves as the amount being bandied for such transport subsidy clearly outstrips the amount that is currently expended on the so-called petrol subsidy”.

“What the government is proposing is to abandon the Nigerian workers and people to very cruel market forces whose sole drive is profit maximisation. This is why we believe that private investment in building petroleum refineries is not enough. Government must ensure that public refineries also work.

“This way, there would be true competition and Nigerians would be able to derive the most benefit from a resource that God freely and amply made available to the Nigerian nation,” it said.

NLC further expressed concern that the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector was being aggravated by the persisting crisis in the upstream sub-sector.

According to the labour body, it was recently reported that almost 200 million barrels of crude oil were lost in 2021, as a result of crude oil theft, ageing infrastructure, poor long term investment outlay, poor security of inland waterways, and challenges arising from conflicts with oil bearing communities and host communities of oil facilities.

Also reacting to the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, NLC said the law still did not sufficiently address the deficits of governance, oversight, investment, environmental integrity, local beneficiation and the use of petroleum resources to advance the cause of the ordinary Nigerian worker and citizen.

It urged the two chambers of the National Assembly to immediately commence the process of reviewing the Petroleum Industry Act to reflect the aspirations of Nigerian workers and people.

In addition, NLC lamented that since the national minimum wage was signed into law by President Buhari in April 2019, the implementation has been a tale of mixed fortunes across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

According to NLC, while some states are in compliance, others are not. “While most of the states in the North-west geopolitical zone have started implementing the new national minimum wage, there is an exception in the case of Zamfara State, which has refused to pay the national minimum wage and consequential salary adjustment to workers in the state.

Ahead of the 2023 general election, NLC said it would lead the Nigerian electorate to ask pertinent questions of development.

It said that going forward, organised labour would be demanding from politicians and the political class the dividends and returns of the investments.

In addition, it expressed the resolve at recovering the Labour Party and repositioning it as a vehicle for actualising the desire for a peaceful, united and prosperous nation.

 

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SUBSIDY: NLC TO STAGE A PROTEST RALLY IN ADAMAWA

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The organised Labour in Adamawa State is to join other states nationwide on 27th January 2022 to stage a protest rally against the federal government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy this year.
This was announced by the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) Comrade Emmanuel Fashe during an extra-ordinary joint session with Civil society organisations, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Students Union Government, Leadership of Keke-NAPEP riders,Gamzaki union and 33 labour unions that formed the organised Labour.
The enlarged meeting was at the instance of the National Secretariat of NLC.
On the wheels of these Mega protest that may ground economic activities on 27th January 2022, a 9-Man mobilization Committee was constituted to be headed by Acting Secretary of NLC in the state,Dr.Batholomew Nyalas.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria has about 200 youth organisations including faith based and all will be mobilised through out adamawa state for the rally.
The two front bunner on the issue is removal of fuel subsidy, arbitrary increase in electricity tariffs and other economic auxiliary issues that have been cracking down human survival as citizens of Nigeria.
The issue of inability Of the federal governmentto revive and build more refineries was another major issue that provoked the organised Labour nationwide.
The NLC in a communique issued on Friday in Abuja and signed by National president,Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja warned that removing the fuel subsidies would have negative economic effects on Nigerian workers and lead to hyperinflation.

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