The umbrella Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the federal government against increasing the price of petrol, after President Goodluck Jonathan hinted at a possible price increase.
In a statement Friday, NLC President Abdulwahed Omar warned that any increase in the price of fuel would lead to a nationwide strike.
Omar called on President Jonathan to focus government attention on the need to frontally tackle the corruption that had held the nation’s oil sector hostage, in an apparent reference to the alleged diversion of over 1.7 trillion naira through a massive subsidy fraud (US$1=157 Naira).
He urged President Jonathan to ensure the prosecution of those indicted for the fraud, rather than venturing into a total removal of petroleum subsidy, which is a euphemism for fuel price increase.
“The statement by the President claiming that only the removal of fuel subsidy will allow for domestic refining of fuel is highly disturbing. More so, coming at this time of the year, when many see the current fuel scarcity being experienced in most parts of the country as being artificially created.
“With the wave of revelations regarding monumental corruption in the petroleum industry, it will be unimaginable to contemplate any other thing than focusing on ridding the industry of the endemic corruption that has become so pervasive in the industry,” Omar said.
Last January, the government raised the price of fuel from 65 naira (US$0.40) a litre to 140 naira (US$0.90) after the subsidy was removed, triggering a massive, nation-wide strike that ended only after the government slashed the price to 97 naira (US$0.60) per litre.