The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Saturday said it would embark on a nationwide protest from next Wednesday if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) refuses to reverse the new price regime in the oil sector.
The NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.
President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, in his inaugural address at Eagle Square, Abuja, declared that there would no longer be a petroleum subsidy regime as it was not sustainable.
Following the announcement, the NNPCL on Wednesday directed its outlets nationwide to sell fuel between N480 and N570 per litre, an almost 200 per cent increase from the initial price below N200.
In its reaction Friday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) announced it would embark on a nationwide protest next Wednesday if NNCPL refuses to reverse the new price regime in the oil sector.
Reacting in its statement on Saturday, the NUJ said an emergency central working committee meeting of the union was convened online to discuss issues surrounding the decision by the federal government to remove fuel subsidy and the position taken by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
It said after presentations by the National President, Chris Isiguzo, and the National Treasurer, Bamidele Atunbi, members unanimously adopted the position of NLC.
“CWC reiterates the argument that although the removal of fuel subsidy will free allocations which can be channelled to the provisions of infrastructure and creation of additional jobs, the sudden removal could, however, lead to social unrest and protests as people may perceive Government as being insensitive to their plight.
“CWC also notes that already there is an astronomical increase in the prices of petroleum products and high inflation, which have drastically reduced the purchasing power of citizens.
“Accordingly, CWC directs all State Councils of the Union to mobilise members to withdraw their services and commence protests nationwide from Wednesday next week, 7th June 2023, if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNCPL) refuses to reverse the new price regime in the oil sector,” the statement said.
Nigeria spent over N4 trillion last year on petrol subsidy, more than it spent on healthcare and education, with many experts arguing that such was unsustainable.
This year, the immediate past government of Muhammadu Buhari only provided budgetary allocation for petrol subsidy until 30 June after saying it would leave the incoming administration to make a final decision on the matter.
However, the three leading presidential candidates in the 25 February presidential election (Mr Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi) promised to remove the petrol subsidy if elected.
Opponents of the removal, such as the NLC, however, argue that it would increase the prices of goods and services and further impoverish millions of citizens in a country.
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