Despite the decision of Nigeria’s Federal Government to suspend the intended removal of the subsidy on petroleum products, the Nigeria Labour Congress has announced that its planned nationwide protest on Thursday, regarding the subsidy, will not be cancelled.
The NLC argued that the perennial hike in the pump price of petrol and other refined petroleum products was a transfer of government failure and inability to effectively govern the country.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; at the National Assembly on Monday said the Federal Government had suspended the plan to remove fuel subsidy.
However, NLC’s assistant general secretary, Asuzu Echezona, has clarified, “We are continuing with preparation for the protests.”
Buttressing the NLC stand, the Ogun State Chairman of the NLC, Emmanuel Bankole, in an interview with the Punch newspaper, said, “The congress observed a game plan and deceit in the new development hence, there is no going back in the planned protest scheduled in the state against the plan by the Federal Government.
“We are aware (of the suspension of the fuel subsidy removal). We are going ahead with the Thursday protest. There is no going back.”
Lamprace learnt that no NLC leader reserves the power to unilaterally call off the planned protest without convening meetings of their national executive councils.
Earlier, the NLC, in the letter to the governors, written by its President, Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, berated the government for its failure to manage the nation’s four oil refineries and inability to build new ones.
“It is tragic and shameful that Nigeria is about the only OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Producing Countries) country that cannot refine her crude oil,” the congress stated.
In furtherance to its decision to go through with the protests, the NLC has written to the Federal Capital Territory Police Command on its mass rally holding on Thursday.
The spokesperson, FCT police command, DSP Josephine Adeh, however explained, on Monday, that the congress did not need a police permit for its rally.
She stated, “They have written to inform us about the protests so our men would be on the ground to provide protection for them. They don’t need a permit to hold their protests but their letter was simply to inform us about the protests.”
Other chapters of the NLC in states, including Delta, Cross River, Ekiti, Ogun and Lagos, are also said to be going ahead with the protest.