This Day (Lagos)

26 April 2012

Nigeria: Subsidy Report - NLC Threatens to Mobilise Workers

Photo: Vanguard
The national petroleum corporation has asked for allegations of misdeeds levelled against it in the subsidy report to be proven.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Federal Government against sweeping under the carpet the subsidy report released by House of Representative Committee, stating that it will align with the House to ensure that all those indicted were not only brought to book but also made to refund the loot.

President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar,who gave the warning yesterday at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said it was necessary to rid the country of corrupt practices.

Omar said Labour would mobilise NIgerians to resist every attempts by top government officials and some vested interest outside government to continue to enslave and impoverish the Nigerian masses.

"Whatever that is going to bring sanity to the Nigerian nation, we will continue to encourage the National Assembly. Part of what we are reflecting on ahead of the May Day is that the subsidy probe is coming as a result of the mass protest that Labour and its allies organised.

It is bringing out very good information that must not be swept under the carpet as attempts are being made from some quarters in government. We are going to align with the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives to ensure that the report is not swept under the carpet.

"We are assuring the House that we are solidly behind them, Nigerians are behind them and nothing must be swept under the carpet. Everybody who is found guilty must be brought to book so that we can sanitise the system and make sure that Nigeria moves ahead," Omar said.

Speaking further, he said the Congress would move against any further increment in the pump price of fuel stating that there was no justification for government to increase fuel price when it has not address the corruption in the sector.

According to him, "As long as the right thing is not done, Nigeria will resist any attempt to further increase the pump price of fuel.

We have said it and we are now being vindicated by the report of the probe panel that corruption is so endemic in the system and that by the time you deal with the issue of corruption, then the issue of subsidy will be nothing.

"What came out clearly from the probe is that even in 2011, the N1.3 trillion that they claimed to have spent, the probe showed that they have spent N1.3 trillion on subsidy. Where then did the money go to?. Also the provision of subsidy in the 2012 budget signed by the president showed about N260 billion for subsidy, so why did it suddenly jump from N260 billion to N3 trillion? These are questions that Nigerians are asking and answers must be provided by those in authority.

On the workers day celebration, Omar said Nigerian workers have not fared well in view of the fact that most state governments are yet to implement the new national minimum wage signed into law by the president since March 2011.

Specifically, he said some states in the South East were yet to pay the new wage despite several agitation by workers. He lamented that the increase in pump price of fuel had eaten deep into the N18,000 minimum wage thereby making workers worse off.

"There are some states where the minimum wage has not been implemented, states like Enugu, Anambra and some other states in the South East. This is a gross violation of the Constitution of the country. This is also a very serious area we are going to confront," he said.

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