The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) views the recent statement credited to the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Department of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, that “the nation’s difficult business environment may make it difficult to sustain the current pump price of petrol” as highly insensitive and an open invitation to a revolution in Nigeria.
The Congress is surprised that the management of an organisation as important as the NNPC regularly contradicts itself, with members thereof speaking from both sides of the mouth. Earlier, the offices of the Minister of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director of the Corporation had said the current price is not sustainable, but assured that there is nothing to worry about. This recent comment by Kyari however corroborates the public’s suspicion that they are already nursing the idea even at a time when Nigerians have been stretched beyond acceptable limits. The consequent revolution will not spare those behind this touted increment if they ever try introducing it.
Ours is a country of paradoxes: we export crude and import refined products. Our refineries are still producing far below installed capacity even with all the reforms said to have been done by this administration. Sadly, all efforts of organised labour to help by advocating speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) have hit the rocks. The only antidote consistently offered by our NNPC big-wigs to the challenges in the oil and gas sector is fuel hike. How unfortunate!
We care little about whose responsibility it is to make the sector optimally functional, be it the NNPC or the marketers or whoever. All we are saying is, “NO FURTHER PRICE HIKE.” We shall not tolerate infliction of more pain on Nigerians; we kick against closure of more factories; and we hold the government responsible for insecurity, crime and other vices. They should stop telling us they feel our pain when all they do is to make it worse!
We wish to warn and remind all those proposing the ill-advised move that in 2012 the ruling party then in the opposition had told the world that there was no subsidy on oil. We therefore wonder where this magical “subsidy” that is now being withdrawn by the government comes from? We reject the increment because it will translate to unbearable increase in the cost of living in all spheres of life. Failure to adhere to the voice of reason will lead to serious industrial crisis.
Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama
Comrade (Barr.) Simeso Amachree
Ag. Secretary General TUC