Mixed Reactions Trail Protest against Fuel Price Hike

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CNPP urges Nigerians, civil society to resist FG
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has reiterated its call on Nigerians masses and civil to ignore the labour unions and protest against the increment of pump price of petrol despite judgment of the Industrial Court stopping planned strike action by the unions.

The CNPP in a statement issued on Tuesday, which was jointly signed by its national Chairman, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and the Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, also accused bot the the federal government and the labour unions of insincerity in the matter.

“We are taken aback that the federal government could hurriedly obtain a judgment from the Industrial Court, with readiness to enforce same overnight while the government is yet to obey many other court orders against it.
“For instance, the PRP was deregistered as a political party by the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) and a court of competent jurisdiction ordered its re-registration but the INEC is yet to obey the order.

“Today, the federal government selects which court judgment to obey and the ones against it are discountenanced. We reiterate our call on all well meaning Nigerians and the civil society to ignore the Labour unions and protest against the unjustifiable pump price increment in their numbers.

“The CNPP suspects that the Industrial Court judgment was obtained the federal government in connivance with the labour unions to ambush the Nigerian masses and deny them their constitutional rights to hold opinion, freedom of expression and association.
“Recall that the CNPP had earlier warned Nigerian people to ignore the labour unions because our findings showed that they have been compromised and would eventually betray Nigerians as they did in 2012.

“The order of the Industrial Court stopping the unions’ planned strike puts a question mark on the sincerity of both the labour unions and the feral government. But the government and the unions must be made aware that the Nigerian people are unstoppable despite their glaring conspiracy against the wishes of the people”, they said.

ASUU Declares Nationwide Strike
National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has mobilised members of the union for strike and mass action commencing today to force the federal government to revert the pump price from N145 to N86.
In a letter sent to members of the congress nationwide and read at the University of Ibadan chapter where the Chairman, Dr Deji Omole mobilised members to get ready go for mass resistance to what he called obnoxious and callous policy of fuel price increment.
According to Omole, the policy of subsidy removal was the most criminal ambush from the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to empower the rich and cripple the poor.

The ASUU boss who said the common denominator to all Nigerians is poverty added that the same APC government that failed to pay civil servants for months is now celebrating budget signing with the legalization of black market.

Omole who noted that many state governors who now align with the removal of subsidy ran their states aground through wasteful spending added that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should beam search lights on state governors.
ASUU boss noted that the coup against the masses adding that since Nigeria runs motorised economy, Nigerians cannot be forced to carry the problems created by the rich and friends of government.

Organised Labour Goes on Strike in Edo
Despite meetings, negotiation and an Industrial Court injunction, organised labour led by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), civil society coordinated by the Conference of Non Governmental Organisations (CONGOS) and other affiliates yesterday vowed to shut down economic activities in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Benin City yesterday evening, state Chairman the NLC, Emmanuel Ademokun, said a rally would commence from the NLC secretariat and through the city centre.
He advised all business premises not to open for business just as he threatened that petrol would be dispense at N86.50k in any petrol station found dispensing fuel.

Ademokun insisted that they were not aware of injunction describing the said injunction as “black market injuction”.
“We are not aware of injunction. This actioin is a clarion call on the federal government of Nigeria to wake up to their responsibilities of providing better life for Nigerians whome they have pledged to serve. The excruciating economic situation in our country do not recognise the political divide nor religion, nor tribal definition the time to say no to bad policy is now.”
Ademokun said the industrial is being carried out by the NLC and not less than 41 of its affiliates.

Kogi NLC to Join National Strike
The emergency meeting of the Kogi State executive committee of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have taken decisions to comply with the directive from the national headquarters of the NLC to embark on the expected strike today to protest against the increase in the fuel pump price from N86 to N145 per litre by the federal government.

The meeting which was attended by all major stakeholders, including civil society organisations in the state, was convened by the state Chairman of the NLC, Onu Edoka, along with TUC counter part Ranti Ojo, at the NLC secretariat in Lokoja, the state capital.
Edoka said leaders of various unions met and took a unanimous decision to condemn the price increase and mobilise workers, activists, traders and other unions on a nationwide protest today to prevail on the government to reverse the action.
According to him, “We have decided to give two days period to the government to reverse the increase or face the protest on Wednesday.”
Edoka assured Nigerians that proper arrangements have been made to provide adequate security during the protest, adding that hoodlums should keep away from the strike.

Kwara NLC Declares Strike
The Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday ordered workers and residents of the state to stay indoor as from today despite the court order that restrained the national leadership of the NLC from embarking on strike action over the alleged refusal of the federal government to reduce the petrol price to N86 per liter from N145 per liter.

This was contained in a statement issued by Joint Kwara Labour Congress (NLC) comprising of the NLC and the TUC in the state.
According to the statement jointly signed by the chairmen of the two labour unions, Comrade Yekini Kareem Agunbiade of the NLC and Kolawole Olumoh Nasir of the TUC, “The kwara state councils of the NLC/TUC in line with the directive of the national headquarters of the two umbrella union will embark on strike if the federal government fails to accede to the demands on or before 12 midnight on yesterday, May 17, 2016,the NLC/TUC and their civil societies allies will commence the strike on Wednesday, May,18,2016.
“We seriously urge every worker and the masses of Kwara State to remain indoor until further notice,” the statement concluded.

IPAC, CSOs Withdraw from Planned Protest
Following the increase in the pump price of petrol from N86 to N145 per litre by the federal government, the forum of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country, as well as the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC), yesterday dissociated themselves from the planned protest by organised labour against the increment.

The National Chairman of the forum, Wole Badmus, stated this in Abuja where he argued that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) should be more concerned about the obnoxious treatment of Nigerian workers by foreign firms operating in the country and monitor the palliatives of the government to ensure their success.

The CSOs stressed that they were in total support of the newly-introduced price modulation template in the oil sector, while also commending what they described as bold initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari to put the country on the part of sustainable development.
Badmus insisted that toeing the lines was far an honourable path to tread than the usual rituals of subjecting citizens to pains and hardships through unnecessary strikes.
The chairman noted that the forum expects that when more refineries are built and existing ones start functioning at full capacity, the current fuel price will drop considerably.

He wondered why subsidy, which he observed was an issue when global oil price was above $100 would also be an issue now. Badmus emphasised that some sections of the populace were asking for subsidy, partly because they were oblivious of what he described as the scam perpetrated in the sector as well as the fear of the future without subsidised fuel.
Meanwhile, IPAC in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Ogbuehi Dike, called on the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned nationwide strike and embrace dialogue in the national interest.

IPAC urged the federal government to move beyond withdrawal of subsidy and fully deregulate the down-stream sector of the oil and gas industry.
The regime of subsidy, it said, had always been unsustainable and has, indeed, been a tool for enriching a few people at the expense of ordinary Nigerians.

Dike stated: “Fuel is an economic asset, not a social service. It must be used to advance the economic interest and wellbeing of our nation and not used as a tool for patronage and selective enrichment.
“IPAC notes and regrets the pain the removal of subsidy may cause those Nigerians who are able to obtain fuel at its official price. It also notes and regrets the spillover effect the policy may have on cost of transportation, commerce and consumer goods in the short term.
“However, in the long term, removal of subsidy is the right thing to do. Before now, subsidy had been the bane of diesel supply but since it was removed, diesel has been available everywhere at a stable price.

“The billions of naira saved from the removal of fuel subsidy should be invested in diversifying the economy particularly agricultural sector, that will ensure national food sufficiency, create wealth and employment to millions of unemployed youths.
“Part of the savings should also be used to offer immediate palliatives to the general public that will cushion the effect of possible rise in the cost of road transport.”

Bauchi Gov Asks Nigerians to Support Deregulation
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State has asked labour leaders in the country to shun their planned industrial action over the deregulation of the downstream petroleum industry and support the presidency for taking “a bold step to transform the economy by addressing the major hurdles to meeting the local petrol needs of the country.”
The governor made this appeal yesterday in the wake of an ultimatum issued by the labour leaders asking the federal government to rescind its decision to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry which resulted in the increase of the price of petrol to N145 per litre.

“No government in the history of this country has shown more commitment to the resuscitating the moribund economy of Nigeria and putting on the right tract of meaningful development than the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. But for the bold decisions being taken by the Buhari administration, Nigeria would have been declared bankrupt,” Abubakar said.
The governor said Nigeria cannot afford to “continue living in the fantasy of thinking that all is well. The economy needs decisions like these to bounce back.
Abubakar while condemning the activities of saboteurs which have reduced petroleum production per day by nearly a third, promised that market forces will force the price of petroleum and its allied products to drop in a months as these activities in the Niger Delta will be brought to a halt and local refineries will resume production.

2,000 APC Youths Stage Rally in Support of Fuel Price Hike
As the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) planned to organise a mass protest against the increase of fuel price today, about 2,000 youths in Bauchi under the aegis of ‘Bauchi State APC Youths’ yesterday staged a peaceful rally to support the recent removal of the fuel subsidy by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The youths who carried APC banners and posters of Buhari started the procession from the palace of the emir of Bauchi and walked down to the state secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to address the press men and then trooped to the government house.
Spokesman of the youths, Nasiru Abdullahi, explained that the rally was organized to express unconditional support to the president on the bold step he took to stop payment of subsidy to the independent petroleum marketers whom he alleged has been sabotaging the government by causing unnecessary fuel scarcity.

He added that they would not support or participate in the demonstration against the removal of the subsidy by the labour unions, alleging that Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) does not protect the interest of the common man in the country but were sponsored by the members of the opposition party and detractors of the present government to organize the protest.

The youths further stated that they had fervent belief that President Buhari would not siphon the money which would be saved from the subsidy payment, instead, he would utilise it judiciously in executing developmental projects to improve the plight of the masses “because Buhari is honest and incorruptible.”