By Simon Ebegbulem
THE Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, said the Federal Government has not shown it is ready for discussion with workers or Nigerians over the plan to remove the subsidy on petrol.
This comes as Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, who declared the 4th Quadrennial/ 9th National Delegates Conference of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), open, in Benin City, stressed the need to privatize the power sector so as to make it more efficient and fraud free.
President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, who spoke at the occasion, also recalled that the problems in the power sector had not been resolved by the Federal Government and wondered why it would abandon the avalanche of problems confronting the nation to insist that it must remove fuel subsidy.
Indications that President Goodluck Jonathan had launched a move to lobby religious leaders to support the petrol subsidy bid came when he, in a message to the Holy Ghost Congress of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), sought the support of Christians for his administration.
According to Omar, “I also want you to understand that the fight against corruption which is the bane of all evil is almost non-existent. Remember that the N18,000 minimum wage, as negotiated and agreed to and signed, is yet to be implemented by the Federal Government. And now, it is obvious that government is poised to making good its resolve to further pull down the living conditions of Nigerians by the outright removal of fuel subsidy in 2012.
“This is despite all the advice to the Federal Government by eminent Nigerians but it appears that the Federal Government is not interested, not even to engage workers in the discussion but it has made up its mind to remove the fuel subsidy whether Nigerians like it or not.
“The majority of Nigerians have condemned it. We must wake to the challenge to protect Nigerian workers and Nigerians in general. We must ensure that if Nigerians will enjoy dividends of democracy that dividends must not be in negativity.
On his part, Oshiomhole asserted that, given the prevailing economic and social conditions in the country, privatization of the power industry in the country had become inevitable.
Lobbying Christian leaders to support petrol subsidy removal on Friday night, President Jonathan said his programmes are geared towards the upliftment of the people of the country.
‘’Government is pursuing the restoration of public trust in governance,” he said at the RCCG Holy Ghost Congress in a message read on his behalf by the minister of labour and productivity, Mr Emeka Wogu, saying he is committed to the development of the nation and “will not let Nigeria down with its programmes because they are designed for the good of the nation.”