The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has risen in stout defence of its integrity and credibility, accusing the Presidency of lying on the contentious issue of fuel subsidy.
NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, who was reacting to allegations by the Special Adviser to President on Media, Reuben Abati, that Labour had given the Federal Government its support on the removal of fuel subsidy, described such claims a blatant lie to mislead the public.
Mr. Omar said, “No one would have believed that the revered office of the President could stoop so low to tell a lie. In a bid to defend the Presidency on the misleading and callous imposition of astronomical increase in fuel prices on Nigerians, the Special Adviser on Media to President Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati, told the media that Labour was in support of the subsidy removal. His claim that Labour was consulted, and had given support to whatever government does on the issue of removal of subsidy is a blatant lie.
According to the NLC president, the leadership of the labour movement had, on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, held only one meeting with the Federal Government on the issue of fuel subsidy, which was inconclusive, as it was agreed that a follow-up meeting would be convened by the Presidency.
He said though labour made the outcome of that meeting public through a press statement the presidency did not dispute its content.
“At the meeting, the Labour Movement had noted that it was not only impossible for the Federal Government to implement a fifth of the projects outlined in the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE), but that the presentation by the Presidency on the issue of oil subsidy“ was simply a repetition of the presentations made by the Babangida and Abacha regimes as well as the Obasanjo administration, and that none of those promises were kept.
While reiterating Labour’s opposition to the fuel subsidy removal as well as astronomical hikes in the price of petrol in the country, the NLC President warned that “no amount of blackmail, propaganda or intimidation will deter Nigerians from reclaiming their country.”
Meanwhile, the NLC, will on Wednesday, release a comprehensive schedule and directive on the date of the coordinated nationwide general strikes, mass rallies and street protests as well as the methodology of the protests.