NLC’s Planned Nationwide Protest Over Subsidy Removal Is Misplaced, Says Onuesoke

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Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) plan to embark on nationwide protest from January 27, 2022, over the Federal Government’s plan to remove subsidy from petroleum products has been described as misplacement of priority.

Chief Sunny Onuesoke, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Delta State governorship aspirant, who made the statement while addressing journalists in his office in Warri, Delta State said if members of NLC mean well for Nigerians,  they are expected to protest and declare full strike for the renovation of the nonfunctional Nigerians refineries instead of removal of fuel subsidy.

He pointed out that if the Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna refineries are in good working condition, the issue of payment of fuel subsidy will be minimised or totally eradicated as the oil is drilled and produced within Nigeria.

“In essence, I expect NLC to protest over the nonfunctional of the Nation’s refineries and the twenty-one NNPC storage tank farms across the country. If NLC can push for the repairs of the refineries and it is done, the issue of fuel subsidy will be over. I wonder why they are all turning their eyes away from reality.

“What is the need of having over four non-functional refineries that are gulping billions of Naira annually.   If those refineries are not working, if new refineries have not been built by the government, if we now have to import fuel from abroad including from African countries that do not produce oil, there can be no justification for visiting the irresponsibility of the government on the Nigerian people,” he stated.

Onuesoke who argued that the country has no reason for not bringing back its moribund domestic refineries said it is a shame for Nigeria to remain the only OPEC member that imports more than 90 per cent of its refined petroleum needs.

He maintained that the precipitous removal of fuel subsidy without making strategic plans or giving particular attention to the domestic refining is tantamount to strangulating hand-to-mouth Nigerians.

“Before the removal of the fuel subsidy, it will indeed be a very good idea for Nigeria to go all out to resuscitate its four comatose refineries and embark on building new others in order to mitigate the consequences of the withdrawal. The poser here is why Nigeria’s four ailing refineries are yet to be resuscitated?” he queried.

The PDP Chieftain advised that the government should not impulsively withdraw fuel subsidies unless its entire four comatose refineries are resuscitated.

“President Buhari should shut his ears to the incessant destructive criticism of those egoistical and unpatriotic Nigerians who denunciate his commitment to resuscitate Nigeria’s ailing refineries and spare no effort to lay the foundation for actualising zero import target of refined products by 2024,” he advised.

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