Niger Delta Groups, including the Niger Delta Youth Congress (NDYC), South-South Movement for Good Governance (SMG), the Urhobo Progressive Vanguard (UPV), Niger Delta Women for Change (NDWC), Cross River Youth Democratic Front (CRYDF), and 13 other groups, have expressed deep concern over what they described as “the recurring pattern of deception orchestrated by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in matters of critical national importance.”
In a joint statement issued by the leaders of the over 17 groups, they carpeted the independent oil marketers over immediate hiked in pump prices of petrol as soon as the subsidy removal was announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu “in order to sabotage the sincere efforts of the government.”
Those who signed the statement include Comrade Israel Uwejeyan, the National Coordinator of the Niger Delta Youth Congress (NDYC); Barr. Raymond Oporomo, the National President of South-South Movement for Good Governance; Comrade Efemena Esamagu, the President of Urhobo Progressive Vanguard; Mrs. Abigail Asibie, the National Coordinator of Niger Delta Women for Change; Comrade Julius Emaluji, the National President of the Cross River Youth Democratic Front, among others.
The groups keenly observed that “on numerous occasions, the NLC has deceived the public by creating an illusion of safeguarding their welfare, only to betray their trust by engaging in backdoor negotiations with the government, ultimately disregarding the plight of the suffering masses.”
Cautioning labour unions over their planned strike action against the removal of subsidy on petrol, the organisations said, “We emphatically caution the NLC that it can no longer deceive anyone after having stripped itself of credibility, public trust, and confidence.
“We urges Nigerians to be vigilant and reject the NLC’s attempts to drag them into a situation with uncertain outcomes it. We urge our compatriots not to fall for the gimmicks employed by the NLC, who seem to be taking advantage of the suffering of the masses for their selfish negotiations.
“The NLC must first and foremost provide a comprehensive explanation regarding its absence during the preparation, presentation, defense, and passage of the budget by the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and the 9th National Assembly, which did not include provisions for subsidy.
“It is disheartening to witness opportunistic actions being taken by the NLC only when it suits their agenda, rather than consistently advocating for the welfare of Nigerians”.
The groups called on Nigerians to hold the “independent oil marketers accountable for the drastic deterioration of petroleum prices, we vehemently condemn these acts of extortion by the independent marketers who hiked pump prices as soon as the subsidy removal was announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in order to sabotage the sincere efforts of the government.
“This inhumane act of wickedness and greed demonstrates a lack of regard for the already burdensome living conditions faced by the Nigerian people.
“Moreover, we are not ignorant of the fact that the removal of fuel subsidies has placed an additional financial burden on the Nigerian populace, particularly the most vulnerable segments of society.
“The sudden increase in fuel prices has had a ripple effect on the cost of transportation, food, and other essential commodities, further exacerbating the hardships faced by the people.
“Therefore, we urge the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to critically review the fuel price template provided by the NNPCL. By reducing the fuel price template, the government will be lessening the financial burden on the masses”.
In addition to addressing the immediate concern of the fuel price template, the group called on President Bola Tinubu “to prioritize finding a lasting solution to the inherited issues plaguing the petroleum sector. One crucial aspect that demands urgent attention is the state of the existing refineries.
“The continuous reliance on imported petroleum products has not only proven to be economically unsustainable but also undermines our national energy security.
“We implore President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to proffer a comprehensive and sustainable plan to revamp and rehabilitate the existing refineries within the coming months.
“This measure will not only reduce our dependence on imported petroleum products but also create job opportunities, foster local content development, and ultimately contribute to the economic growth and development of our nation.
“We urge all stakeholders to work together to build a nation where the welfare of the people is paramount and where the actions of all stakeholders align with the collective goal of a prosperous Nigeria”, they concluded.