By: Valentine Adese
As Nigerian workers under the umbrella of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other Civil Society groups prepare for the Planned protest across the length and breath of the country, the Director of Civil Liberties Organization, Comrade Steve Aluko Daniel, has disclosed that the Civil Society groups in the country are already prepared for the showdown come Wednesday next week.
|COMRD. STEVE D. ALUKO|
He opined that this can be avoided if the Federal Government take advantage of the window of the time between now and Wednesday to open a credible and constructive engagement with Nigerians and key stakeholders.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to look back and see that the premise under which he also joined the protest against the former regimes on the issue of removing subsidy has not changed.
The Director lamented that the masses would suffer as they would be exposed to exploitation by the shylock oil monopoly by this continual price change of fuel and other related products if the country does not put its refineries in order as the current policy is mere foreign import driven.
Mr. Steve Aluko, who spoke exclusively with REALITY in part said: “The premise under which we challenged other regimes with President Buhari joining and supporting to condemn the then leaders has not changed. The difference in price is not the matter here as we are aware that marketers can buy and sell from different places and at different prices.
“What we have held government to on this issue, is that the Federal Government is suppose to put the refineries in order and in working condition else, these flimsy excuses of hiking price of petroleum products will continue.
“You would recall that this is the same ground that the president joined the struggle against the removal of subsidy before he became President.
“secondly we as CLO, strongly condemn the approached adopted as the level of consultation was not all inclusive since the boards of the NNPC, DPR and PPPRA are not in place to so accept the move will only amount to executive impunity.
“More so, the way the FG representatives engaged the representatives of the NLC, TUC and Civil Society groups never had a template and inclusive constructive engagement. The importance of oil economy to Nigerians given its multiplier impact is more than one chance engagement.
“The issue of reducing price through this method is not done! The enforcement mechanism is faulty especially, when you see that the people selling cannot be controlled or regulated by the masses. Using the telecommunication strategy as an example is also very wrong as you can see, the telecommunication industry like the electricity tariff is not been effectively controlled by the government so, how do they then expect the people do that. NCC has already told us that Nigeria is the most expensive telecommunication industry as people are been charged without control.
“Consumers will be made more vulnerable by the government and from all indications the government will not be able to control the N145 price it has put in place. This regime’s policy is foreign driven! All that can solve this problem from the civil society’s point of view is just for the refineries to start working so that we can refine domestically.
“Government must not be looking for a short term solution but long term. The government must make this refineries start working and create jobs out of them. They are making the masses of this country very vulnerable and this will affect all sectors of the economy.
“So, this protest is multi-facet! The government has an opportunity to reopening the widow of credible and constructive engagement to avail a possible ground for protest.
“Should that fail, Nigerians would have to take their destiny in their own hands as directed by the national leadership of NLC, TUC and the Civil Society.