The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday asked the in-coming president, Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that the cabal controlling the country’s fuel importation business is sacked to restore normalcy in the sector.
The NLC said business and commercial activities in the country were brought literally to a halt as a result of the activities of the “mindless and cruel” cabal that is holding the industry hostage.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said it was clear the objective of the cabal in the current fuel supply crisis was to arm-twist the Federal Government to part with billions of unearned dollars, as fuel subsidy payments.
Mr. Wabba blamed the government for allowing the cabal to continue to hold the country to ransom and escalating the reign of impunity and corruption in the petroleum sector.
The NLC urged outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan to, in the few days remaining of his tenure, identify officials in his administration who failed to perform their responsibilities that resulted in the current crisis.
He asked Mr. Jonathan to within the next few days conduct a quick investigation and hand the responsible over to the incoming administration to further investigate and prosecution.
The outgoing administration, he also said, should blacklist all those private sector companies involved in the massive blackmail of Nigerians and ensure that their licenses were revoked to serve as a deterrent to other operators.
The ugly experience of Nigerians in the last four or so weeks regarding the fuel scarcity, Mr. Waba said, raises questions about the practice of maintaining “a strategic national reserve”.
He condemned the action of the players in the petroleum sector through a subtle plot to force the hands of the incoming administration to deregulate the petroleum sector, and compound the hardship of Nigerians through the increase in the prices of petroleum products?
“As organised labour, we maintain our position that government has absolutely no excuse not to ensure that our four refineries with combined capacity to refine 445,000 barrels per day to function and operate to full capacity,” he said.
“We refuse to accept that as a nation so dependent on the petroleum sector, that Nigeria is incapable of building and effectively maintaining refineries to refine all the petroleum products it needs internally and more, so that we are able to satisfy our internal consumption needs and export finished products with value addiction along the chain, to earn additional foreign exchange for the nation,” the NLC said.
Among the issues the NLC said it would engage the new government on, include the implementation of the Farouk Lawan’s Report on the Petroleum Sector, Nuhu Ribadu Committee Report and the Senate Committee report on alleged unremitted $49.8 billion oil revenue by the NNPC as well as the review of the audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.