A member of the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Issa Aremu, has urged Nigerians to resist any increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
He urged Nigerians not to leave the resistance of further fuel price increase to labour groups alone.
While urging support for President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated that the fuel shortage in many parts of the country was an economic war against poor Nigerians.
He spoke during a summit in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, to commemorate his birthday.
The labour leader said it was sad that Nigeria despite being a great producer and exporter of crude oil, Nigerians were suffering fuel crisis.
Aremu said, “We are a rich oil-producing nation of crude oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, including condensates. Yet, refined petroleum product eludes us. This is a national scandal! Where is the compatriotism? Where are the compatriots? Why would Nigerians, for whatever reasons, deny other fellow Nigerians fuel to go to work, to take schoolchildren to schools, market women to market and for Nigerians to look for food and means of livelihood?
“We have in our hands what I call a ‘country capture’ by few petroleum marketers and their official collaborators. I call on compatriots to rise to liberate Nigerians from these greedy profiteers who are as worse as the dreaded kidnappers.”
Aremu, who is also a member of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, noted that the fuel crisis was as a result of governance crisis.
He said this was confirmed by the presentation of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, during the stakeholder’s meetings recently convened by President Buhari and the Senate leadership on the petroleum crisis.
He added, “All the identified problems show that Nigeria does not have fuel crisis but governance crisis. It is the government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, that must have enough product reserve. It is the government that must clear products timely at the port. It is the government that must fix refineries at home. It’s the government that must put an end to corruption-ridden products imports for which Nigeria spends as much as $12bn annually.
“The Federal Government should not only make marketers responsible for every tank of fuel up until the point of delivery, there must also be severe consequences for product diversions. Diversion of a critical inelastic indispensable product like petrol must be treated as an act of terrorism. The current fuel crisis shows that there is no substitute for good governance.”