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Labour demands prosecution of oil marketers indicted for subsidy fraud

By on June 30, 2015

Organised labour in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prosecute all the oil marketers indicted for various subsidy infractions.

It also reiterated its opposition to the removal of fuel subsidy.

In a joint statement signed by the Presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria, Comrades Ayuba Wabba and Bobboi Kaigama, labour urged Buhari to muster the necessary political will by not only opening up  the downstream petroleum sector to fair competition but to also ensure diligent prosecution of all the indicted oil marketers.

Organised labour expressed the regret that even though some individuals were indicted in the probe that followed the fuel subsidy protests of January 2012, noting has been about their cases, even though it was an opportunity for the government to demonstrate its fight against big corruption through diligent prosecution.

It also reiterated its opposition to the removal of oil subsidy, which is being touted as one of the necessary moves to save the economy from collapse, particularly following the recent fuel scarcity which  paralysed activities in Nigeria.

Labour refuted the reports credited to the Transition Committee that it has been consulted on the proposed removal of subsidy and has accepted the decision due to a need to use the proceeds for the provision of free and compulsory primary/secondary education across the country.

“We are certainly not party to this and no one should put words in our mouth. We make bold to challenge the Committee to mention the names of the “labour leaders” who were consulted and who “accepted” the position they have expressed for the public to know.
“We recognise the corruption in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry orchestrated by government agencies in collusion with big-time business persons together with whom they have formed a cartel. We hold the view that in order to be able to deal with this situation effectively, government needs to break up this cabal by opening up the downstream sector of the petroleum industry to fair competition governed by ethics.”

“We remain convinced that the real solution to the crisis in the sector lies in ensuring that domestic refining is promoted.  This can only be achieved if new refineries are built and the four existing ones made to produce at installed capacity thus doing away with the need for importation of refined petroleum products.

New pipelines should also be laid and the old ones refurbished to more efficiently channel the products to all parts of the country, instead of relying on carriage by tankers on our already over-burdened roads,” the statement added.