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NLC, Civil Society group plan big for Nigeria

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) said it is meeting today in Abuja to deliberate on actions to be taken to protest the recent increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the Federal Government.
The NLC in an earlier statement said: “The unilateral increase in prices of petroleum products today by government represents the height of insensitivity and impunity and shall be resisted by the Nigeria Labour Congress and its civil society allies,” the congress said, through a statement by its General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson.
The statement added, “with the imposition on the citizenry of criminal and unjustifiable electricity tariff and resultant darkness and other economic challenges brought on by the devaluation of the Naira and spiraling inflation, the least one had expected at this point in time was another policy measure that would further make life more miserable for the ordinary Nigerian
“The latest increase is the most audacious and cruel in the history of product price increase as It represents not only about 80 per cent increase but it is tied to the black market exchange rate.
“Further more, the process through which government arrived at this is both illogical and illegal as the board of the PPPRA is not duly constituted. In our previous statements and communiques, we had stressed the need for reconstituting the boards of NNPC and PPPRA and wean both away from the overbearing influence of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources who has assumed the role of a Sole Administrator.
“The allusion to the fact that the this increase was arrived at after due consultation with stake holders is not only ridiculous and fallacious, it goes to show that the brief meeting held today during which government was advised shelve the idea until at least it meets with the appropriate organs of the Congress was in bad faith.”
The meeting by the NLC came just as Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) are also meeting in Port Harcourt Rivers State South South Nigeria, to deliberate on the next step after the increase.
The government had on Wednesday May 11, 2016, raised the price of petrol from N 86.50 to a maximum of N145 per litre.
The government explained that the new policy allows marketers to import petrol and sell at their price but not exceeding N145 per litre.
Speaking on Thursday in Lagos, the South West Chairman of the NUPENG Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said in no official of the two unions would make any official statement until the two bodies deliberated on the matter.
Similarly, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) the decision by the government to raise fuel price at a time Nigerians are going through hell economically, was wrong .
In a statement issued on Thursday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Chairman of TUC, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, stated that the hike came at a time Nigeria was passing through economic hardship.
He said that it was also wrong for the Federal Government to despicably fix prices for the petroleum products, describing it as cut-throat prices.
He noted that the subsidy removal was not captured in the 2016 budget, stating that the government had told the people that the prices of fuel would be reduced further.
Onuegbu, however, called on the national body of TUC to summon an emergency meeting, noting that the issue at stake needed swift attention.
“We are tempted by the underhanded manner the purported fuel subsidy was removed to believe that government deliberately created a huge supply gap and subjected Nigerians to months of buying petroleum products at outrageous prices so as to justify the removal of fuel subsidy as a solution to the current fuel price debacle.
“We drew the attention of government to the fact that there is no provision for petroleum subsidy in the 2016 budget and sought to know the plan of government, and we were variously assured by government that there was no plan for deregulation or removal of fuel subsidy.
“We therefore respectfully call on the National Secretariat of TUC Nigeria to convene an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Trade union Congress of Nigeria on this and other burning issues such as the continued disobedience of Court Order on the 45 percent hike in electricity tariff.”
Also, Former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has urged the federal government to reverse the increase.
The leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) said he would support the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) planned mass protest to compel the government to reverse the decision.

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