BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
INFORMAL workers in the country, under the umbrella of the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organisations of Nigeria, FIWON, have said the new pump price of Petrol announced by the Federal Government will destroy the informal sector of the economy.
At an emergency meeting of its Central Working Committee, CWC, FIWON viewed with utmost disappointment the over 120 per cent increase in the price of petrol and described the development as a wicked ambush of Nigerians.
It lamented that most Nigerians travelled to different destinations to celebrate the new year and many of whom were still trapped in their different destinations several days after because of the astronomical increases in the cost of transportation while the costs of food and basic services had also skyrocketed.
The federation said the increase was not only illegal because the executive had no right to implement a budget that was yet to be passed by the National Assembly, but also a callous betrayal of trust especially after President Goodluck Jonathan administration had assured that no action would be taken on increasing these prices until April 2012.
According to the communiqué by Michael Omonayin and Gbenga Komolafe, President and General-Secretary of FIWON respectively, The Federal Government should immediately revert the price of premium motor spirit to N65 per litre with an unreserved apology to Nigerians for visiting them with such a disastrous and unnecessary suffering on the first day of a New Year.
The Federal Government should immediately reduce by 50 per cent the salaries and emoluments of all political office holders including federal legislators so as to free resources for genuine development. A situation whereby the cost of governance is more than the purpose of governance which is to render effective public service, can no longer be tolerated.
Rather than continuing with the ruinous practice of importing fuel, the Federal Government should immediately embark on the construction of refineries even if it means utilising part of Nigeria’s oil reserves.
“The activities of petroleum marketers who in collusion with the officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries, have been round-tripping, claiming subsidies for petroleum products they did not import and challenging the integrity of our banking institutions from whom they borrow in the name of importing petroleum products and would not repay, be probed through an independent public enquiry machinery which would help identify culprits and have them tried for economic sabotage.
The Justice Alfa Belgore and Dr Christopher Kolade committees set up in the aftermath of the increases in the price of petroleum products are a costly distraction from the simple demands of all working people and should therefore be scrapped.”
The statement said “the killing of Mr. Bolaji in Kwara state by security agencies in the course of a peaceful protest against the illegal increases in petroleum products prices on January 3, 2012 is barbaric and absolutely unacceptable in a democracy. CWC- in- session therefore calls for a full investigation of this dastardly act with diligent prosecution of identified security agents responsible for that murder.
The federal government should wake up to its responsibilities of providing quality public services to Nigerians and begin to make provisions for those completely left out in the margins of society; the unemployed, disabled, the aged and vulnerable children through a genuine programme of social safety nets as is the practice in several other African countries.”
The group called “on all workers in the Nigerian informal economy; the carpenters, bricklayers, auto technicians, traders, farmers, tailors, drivers, cleaners, shoe makers, food and water vendors, hair dressers, barbers etc, etc to commence indefinite mass actions through protest marches, sit-ins, lock outs, strikes and boycotts until our demands are met.”