NLC, Nigerians Rely On You In These Trying Times

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By; AUWAL AHMED IBRAHIM GORONYO

The past year was hard like others before it and Nigerians really stood upright and defeated the woes of the times, though in the aspect of insecurity, many did not make it over the obstacles and the cold hands of death snatched them to their untimely graves. 
In the aspect of insecurity, Nigerians tested the bitter side of life and many were consumed by the nagging call of death. In 2021, many students were kidnapped and that caused rough and tough times for parents and the nation. Things were very devastating but by hook and crook, the light of the days shined into 2022.
Thanks so much to our gallant soldiers and security agents for risking their selves and giving their lives for all of us to live and witness this year. It was not easy to approach a naked death just for others to live to smile and grow.
And our government played its cards at its  best to make sure they do the right things for all of us to smile and be happy but we should not forget that to err is human and to forgive is divine and that is why in our ways, we stumble on many problems.
On the side of life and the nation’s economy, Nigerians were tested with a horrible situation of poverty that escalated to all economic ramifications. Poverty is visible in almost every place and fear is on every face and life has less value in the hands of terrorists and bandits. The humans roasted in Sokoto State, the Goronyo and Goran-Namaye in Zamfara State were some of the places that merciless activities took place by bandits in the year 2021.
Inflation keeps rising almost daily and one thing that keeps inflating cost of life in Nigeria can be attributed to the absence of functional Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and like all times, that is why Nigeria keeps plunging into economic tsunami because we don’t control our economy and our only dependable revenue product.
If we have functional refineries, the talks and the noise of subsidy of petroleum products will be dead on arrival and this will give Nigeria a lucrative chance of growing its potentials at less cost that  life will not hold any nightmare for the innocent.
Nigeria is blessed with almost everything God can give a nation to prosper, but making ways for our development continues to be a big problem that we can’t manage alone. 
The Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and Nigerians have had enough of increment in different quarters of life. While the government of President Muhammadu Buhari promised in 2015 before it clinched power that it will renovate and inject life into our refineries,  yet the promise remains an illusion. 
For many times since 2016, the NLC has threatened to go on strike over increment. In May 2016, the NLC threatened to embark on strike over removal of subsidy. On September 7, 2020, NLC dared the federal government over increment of electricity tariff and fuel increment, but suspended the strike due to circumstances that remain controversial.
The intended strike by the NLC coming up on January 27 to  February 1 may be a good way to show the Nigerian government how Nigerians are suffering and finding life unbearable. The inflation rate is swallowing everything that people have and Nigerians should support this agenda at this time. 
If President Muhammadu Buhari as the Minister of Petroleum  had fixed our refineries as promised, fuel price may not even reach the amount that Nigerians are paying and the NLC has provided some recommendations for the government to fashion a way to alleviate the scorching poverty that is ravaging the country.
The Nigerian Labor Congress vehemently for the third time during Buhari’s government, rejected another economic trauma of removing the unending fuel prize. 
In a statement the NLC gave some good advises to the government to utilize and set a good path for Nigeria’s development and turned down the offer of N5,000 to Nigerians which calculated exceeded the figures of the subsidy fee that the country said it can afford.
On the announcement by the Federal Government to increase pump prize in 2022, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President appealed to the Federal government to find a better solution to NIgeria’s economic woes not to add hardship on citizens. 
“We wish to reiterate our persuasion that the only benefit of deregulation based on import driven model is that Nigerian consumers will infinitely continue to pay high prices for refined petroleum products.
“This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the Naira which currently goes for N560 to one US dollar in the parallel market,” the NLC President said. 
The NLC revealed that the future that the fuel prize increase will only add more insecurity problems in the country and as such, the government should not look at the pump prize increment as the final solution to get more money in its coffers.
A country can never grow bigger by relying on others. Nigeria must stand to carter for itself and the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari is for Nigeria to be on its own and be a producer of its needs. 
The agitation of the Buhari -led government is not reflecting on our refineries, but it is a testimony that many farmers had died on their farms and many paid huge amounts of money to be allowed to harvest on their farms and less is only done to improve our oil refining companies and this is the question NLC is asking the Federal Government to answer. 
When we have our refineries working, we will generate more revenue and also sell our products even outside to the world at affordable and convenient prizes but the actualization of this dream of this government has clocked seven years lingering in thin air.
In a new year message, the NLC president stated that the Federal Government is not relenting on its decision of the fuel prize increment that will only push the citizens on a string of poverty. 
“In a 9-page statement, NLC among others, said still, the government is not relenting in its determination to push through further increases in the pump price of petrol and which as usual, has been dubbed as “removal of petrol subsidy”.
Well organized labour has made its position clear on this matter. We have told the government in very clear terms that Nigerians have suffered enough and will not endure more punishment by way of further petrol and electricity price increases.
The NLC stated its own position on the matter of government on increasing the pump prize.
“Our position in this regard is predicated on four major grounds. First is our concern on the deceit and duplicity associated with the politics of “petrol price increase” by successive Nigerian governments. The truth is that the perennial increase by the government in the pump price of petrol is actually a transfer of government’s failure and inability to effectively govern the poor masses of our country.
We are talking of the failure of government to manage Nigeria’s four oil refineries and inability to build new ones more than 30 years after the last petrochemical refinery in Port Harcourt was commissioned; the failure to rein in smuggling; and the failure to determine empirically the quantity of petrol consumed in Nigeria, ” and Nigeria is the only OPEC member that has no functional refinery.
Truly, Nigerians are suffering in a bitting poverty environment, while the responsibility of every government is to find a better way for its people and fuel prize increment is never the way forward for Nigerian government and Nigerians because there is no reason to impound one’s fault on another and only NLC can save Nigerians at this trial time.

Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim (Goronyo) wrote from Kaduna and can be reached  via auwalgoronyo@gmail.com

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