By Victor Ahiumayoung & Kelechi Azubuike
NIGERIA Labour Congress, NLC, has called on the Federal Government to reduce the pump price of petroleum products in line with falling crude prices in the international market as has been done by other importers of refined petroleum products.
At an interactive meeting with journalists, General Secretary of NLC, Dr Peter Oso-Eson, said NLC was worried that though the nation was actually at war, the body language of the country’s political leaders did not suggest so, lamenting that Nigeria was increasingly witnessing wanton and arbitrary exercise of power by political leaders.
According to him, ”The area that worries us very seriously is that crude prices are falling. In order countries, what that is immediately translating to, is that the price of petroleum products and pump head is coming down. In the United States, in the last one month, the price of a gallon of petrol, has come down from $3 to $2, in response to this price adjustment. In our country, we are not allowed to enjoy that benefit. What government is doing is that in order to shore up its naira revenue, it has gone to devalue excessively, the naira; $13 devaluation in one day, and then a continuous process of depreciation.
“What that does, is that, because we import petroleum products largely, the gains from the falling price of crude which ought to translate to consumers, is prevented by that devaluation; because, by devaluing the cost of the head price, it might even increase.
”We say that that is wrong and the benefits of the falling price of crude, must be translated to Nigerians. Therefore, going forward, we want a situation in which the pump of petrol and other petroleum products should actually be adjusted downwards.”
On the situation in the country, he said “We have become very worried about the socio-economic and political situations in the country. The socio-political problems in our country today frighten us.
”Apart from press releases, we have addressed a formal letter on the situation in the country to the President Goodluck Jonathan. We have not released that letter to the media. We will take decision soon whether to release it base on the type of response that we get. But we think that there are now very weighty issues of concern in the country today.
“Number one is the security situation in our country in which we find a band of insurgents able to take territories in the country and we look at our military, they are unable to cope with the situation. For a military that we used to project as the pride of Africa in the various missions that we went to, we are at a loss as to what are the problems. We think that there is need for some of these matters to be addressed. We are worried that the country is at war but the body language of our political leaders does not suggest it. We are going around as if we are not at war. The civil war, the Nigerian Biafran war we knew what the body language was, we knew what the national position on that war was. We have this war going on but we are going on as if nothing is happening.
“In the face of all these, we are finding wanton and arbitrary exercise of power. The invasion of the National Assembly for instance, we made our position public on it but all these events happening in our nation frighten us as we are getting into a situation that may actually undermine the survival of the democracy that you and all of us fought for decades to reclaim. Therefore, we are extremely conceived that is need to change the way we are dealing with these issues.”