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NLC opposes calls for subsidy removal

President of the NLC, Mr. Abdulwahed Omar

The Nigeria Labour Congress on Sunday warned that the public outcry of January 2012 would be a child’s play compared to what its protest would be if the Federal Government removed fuel subsidy.

The statement was a response to the Forum of Commissioners of Finance of the 36 states of the federation, which on Thursday, called for the removal of fuel subsidy.

The Chairman of the forum, Mr. Timothy Odaah, told journalists after this month’s Federation Account Allocation Committee’s meeting in Abuja that the decision to call for the removal of fuel subsidy was based on the irregularities observed in the current subsidy regime.

But in a statement issued in Abuja and titled, “Do not increase the prices of petroleum products,” the NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, said the reasons adduced by FAAC for the removal of subsidy were “empty, self-serving and contradictory.”

The union, which noted that President Goodlcuk Jonathan had more than enough challenges at the moment, said only his enemies, would mislead him into taking such an irrational decision.

“Neither the reason nor the time is auspicious! Rather than indulging in this game of deception, government and marketers should put an end to this unholy alliance and make available uninterrupted supply of petroleum products to Nigerians,” he said.

Omar said the reasons laid bare the “greed, laziness, bankruptcy of ideas of the states.

“Rather than devise strategies to help build internally-generated revenues, diversify the economy or even help build fiscal buffers by way of enacting a legislation to complement laws such as the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Procurement Act, the states are only concerned with collecting and sharing  money from the federal allocation account to the eternal glory of their governors (and their collaborators) who have gone on a borrowing binge as if there is no tomorrow!

“It is equally amazing that having identified the culprits milking the nation dry, instead of calling for their prosecution, Mr. Odaah would have innocent Nigerians to bear further burden of their criminalities. Only a callous and insensitive cruel soul could call for the suffering of the innocent in place of the guilty. But why would any reasonable person behave like Odaah?”

The NLC also accused the Federal Government of mismanaging the $1.61bn loan taken for the turn-around maintenance of refineries, which it regretted were worse now than “before the loan was taken.”

The union said Nigeria as the world’s 13th largest producer of crude oil had no reason to have shortages of petroleum products but “for nauseating corruption.”

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