The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the Federal Government against privatizing the nation’s refineries, saying it would resist any attempt to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, said speculations were rife that the current fuel scarcity that is biting hard across the country, was a deliberate ploy by government to pave way for the eventual privatization of the downstream.
Omar spoke at the International Women’s Day celebration on Saturday, organised by the NLC Women Commission in Abuja.
Information Nigeria reports that the theme of this year’s celebration is “Inspiring Change”.
Omar said, “I don’t know whether Nigerians are ready for this. I don’t know whether Nigerians will accept this. Do you think that Nigerians will be ready for this? No. What privatizing it completely means is that government will just hands-off, fold its arms and watch the marketers do what they like.
“Marketers will try to maximise profit by squeezing Nigerians to the marrow. Can we allow this to happen? No. Is it not the responsibility of government? The responsibility of any responsible government is to ensure the welfare and security of its citizens”.
While urging government to pay heed to the cry of Nigerians, Mr. Omar warned that citizens could be forced to take to the streets in protest if the ugly trend is not reversed.
The labour leader wondered why the country has to import 100 per cent of the finished product when there were refineries that could be turned around to meet local demand.
In her address, the Chairperson of the NLC Women Commission, Lucy Offiong, condemned the recent killings of students in Yobe State and abduction of girls by the Boko Haram sect.
She said, “We are saddened by the spate of killings in our dear country especially recent dimension of targeting young people in schools and colleges especially the recent killings of students in Yobe and the abduction of girls by the Boko Haram sect.
“Those innocent children were murdered in cold blood while pursuing their education. As mothers, we are greatly disturbed and condemn in strong terms such cruel, inhuman and senseless killings. We therefore call on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to take immediate steps and put a final stop to these unwarranted killings. Enough is enough!” she said.
On the forthcoming national conference, Mrs. Offiong said the NLC women commission expects participants to make good use of the opportunity to ensure lasting peace which we all crave.