Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Civil society groups in Edo made up of Edo Civil Society Organisations, Coalition to Save Nigeria (CSN) which comprises several other groups, on Monday protested the recent increase in the pump price of petrol.
Coalition To Save Nigeria (CSN) was in the forefront of the anti-subsidy removal protest in 2012, and has vowed to again mobilize its members to resist what it termed as “unpopular and punitive action of government.
The CSN is made up of Foundation for Social Justice and Social Change, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIBEN, Edo Youth Congress, Registered Voters Association of Nigeria (REVAN) and Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGOS).
Others include Talakawa Parliament, Nigeria People’s Coalition (NPC), Edo Youth for Good Governance, Foundation of Africa Youths (FAY), Freelancers, Orhionmwon Youth Congress, Kukuruku Youth Renaissance Network, Youth Empowerment Advocacy and Crime Intelligence Network.
While the CSN addressed journalists at the Edo State Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo Civil Society Organisations staged a peaceful march around the Kings’ Square, blaming organised labour for the current crisis.
The leader of ECSO, Omobude Agho, regretted that it was because labour compromised in 2012 that led to the federal government again increasing the price.
He said civil society would support organised labour only on insistence that pump price be returned to N86.50k.
According to him, “We shall sustain the struggle for N86.50 per litre of petrol as against the N145, until what Nigerians want is achieved. The NLC must be transparent and take decision in the interest of Nigerians else the people of Nigeria will mobilize against the organized labour, if they compromise with the federal government like in the case of 2012.”
The CSN, led by Dr. Philip Ugbodaga in a statement signed in Benin city, said the federal government is “fantastically” wrong in taking the decision, reaffirming their rejection of the increase and endorsing NLC/TUC planned mass/strike action.
“We love PMB, but reject his anti-people and pro-IMF policies. This government has capitulated to IMF conditionalities and surreptitiously devalued the Nigerian Naira through the back door as the black market has become the government preferred. Official transaction channel while the CBN is now the alternative or parrallel market.
“While the government and its ardent apologists call on us to make sacrifices for a better tomorrow, there is hardly any attempt to democratize the scrifice that Nigeria so urgently need. While the poor still live in penury, our leaders at every level of government continue their ostentatious living.” CSN stated.