Organised labour in the civil service sector has cautioned the Federal Government against plans to remove subsidy on petrol next year stating that labour will resist any attempt by to further impoverish Nigerians.
National President, Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Mr. Bala Kaigama, who made this call at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union, said government is sensitive to the plight of the people.
He wondered why government should be contemplating total deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry when those fingered by the Ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives to have ripped off the country of N1.7 trillion through fuel subsidy scam have not been brought to justice.
He said though President Goodluck Jonathan had assured Nigerians during the recent Media Chat that subsidy on petroleum products was not removed in the 2013 budget, yet the body language of government indicates clearly that it was bent on total removal of fuel subsidy.
“It is indeed surprising that after the stiff opposition that trailed the removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012, the Government is contemplating total deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry to further hike the prices of fuel and other petroleum products
“After all the President had while receiving the Report of Senior Executive Course 34 of year 2012 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies Jos, Plateau State declared at the Presidential Villa that investors “are not building refineries in Nigeria because of the policy of subsidy and that is why we want to get out of it”. I need hardly state that until those who have defrauded the country of billions of naira through the fuel subsidy scam are brought to justice and the loopholes closed to forestall further looting, majority of Nigerians will continue to regard any talk of fuel subsidy as a scam in itself.
“This is why I appeal to the Federal Government to implement such policies that will uplift the lives of Nigerian people in line with what obtains in other contemporary civilized societies and shun those policies that tend to bring suffering on them.
“The Nigerian political elite should begin to imbibe the culture of civility in governance. Their culture of impunity which negates universal standards constitutes serious embarrassment to Nigeria and Nigerians in the comity of nations. The earlier this is recognized by them the better for the country,” he said.
Speaking further, the union boss explained that the “melodrama” which played out during the presentation of the report of Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force has once again confirmed the widely held view that government is paying lip service to the vexed issue of corruption.
He recalled that during the presentation of the report, two members of the task force openly condemned and discredited the report before President Jonathan.
This he said, was an indication that entrenched interest have launched and intensified their offensive to also discredit the report to facilitate the cover up of its damning revelations and recommendations.