The Abuja-based Coalition of Civil Society Organisations and Political Parties for Good Governance has slammed organised labour over its threat that its members will embark on a nationwide strike unless President Bola Tinubu reverse the fuel subsidy removal.
Demanding that labour apologises to Nigerians, the group said if the labour union had not consistently refused past efforts to privatise the nation’s refineries, Nigeria would by now have become self-sufficient in terms of local refining.
The National Coordinator, COSOSAP, Dr Lilian Ene Ogbole told journalists on Thursday in Abuja that labour has to be cautious in its approval to issue, otherwise, it would collapse the whole country on Nigerian people.
She said, “It is worthy of note therefore to mention emphatically that Nigeria Labour Congress cannot roll in the path of any form of industrial action either by way of protest or nationwide strike as this will further escalate more crisis and problems than what is presently obtainable. If Nigeria collapses, it will collapse on all of us.
“It must be stated that every attempt in the past to privatize the moribund refineries and make them functional was fiercely resisted by Labour for the past 33 years. Labour owes Nigerians an apology. If this issue had been addressed in the early ’90s, we would not have been here”.
She said political leaders and economic analysits have argued and agreed that the oil subsidy regime has constituted a source of monumental corruption and a disturbance to the wheel of the Nigeria’s progress in the last forty-five years.
Ogbole said, “It is true that Nigerians desire and deserve to buy petrol at a cheaper rate, but again it is equally true that neither our economy nor any other economy in the world can bear the brunt of the mega corruption associated with the fuel subsidy regime as was obtainable in Nigeria.
“It suffices therefore to say that, the only way our dear nation Nigeria would not go the way of failed states like Venezuela and Sri Lanka etc., is to obliterate the fuel subsidy regime. This accounted for why the last administration ended the fuel subsidy regime in the twilight of its tenure as evident in their refusal to make appropriation for fuel subsidy for the month of June 2023 and even subsequent months.
“Our aim and priority here today is to pacify Nigerians and urge them to exercise a little more patience and support the government to create the Nigeria of our dream, through sustainable policies and reforms that will improve the living standard of the larger majority of Nigerians.
“It is also our self-imposed duty here to let our people know clearly that arrangements are in top gear to introduce interventions and incentives that will cushion the negative effect of this reform while long-lasting plans and policies are also being initiated to ensure and enhance sustainability of the advantages and gains that will accrue from the reform.
“Every result-oriented policy comes with its peculiar effect whether negative or positive; the fuel subsidy removal is no exception. What is important is how well this effect can be effectively managed to better the lives of the people in a progressive and sustainable manner.”