NLC briefing on removal of fuel subsidy

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Solidarity with Nigerian workers

General strike over oil price hikes

9 January 2012

Nigerians woke up on 1st of January to embrace the New Year gift of President Goodluck Jonathan which centred on Removal of Fuel Subsidy. It raised the price of a litre of fuel from N65 to N141 - a 120% increase. This single decision by the government has caused an increase in virtually all the prices of commodities in Nigeria by over 200% in just five days.

The immediate negative impact of this price increase on transport, food, drugs, school fees, indicate that government is totally wrong. The other sad story is that from reports in the media, it is only in Lagos and Abuja that fuel sells for N141 per litre: in other states prices are ranging from N150 to N250 depending what the marketers feel like.

Nigerians immediately took to the streets in different parts of the country on peaceful demonstrations to protest the new government policy. Currently the government is using police to force the protesters to disperse and two days ago at Ilorin in western Nigeria, police shot and killed a protester. Jonathan Goodluck's Government has started shooting and abusing the fundamental rights of Nigerians who are not armed but exercising their human rights.

In 2009, the federal government had an agreement with the NLC that before the removal of the fuel subsidy, there would be repairs of existing refineries, new ones built, regular power supply and provision of social infrastructure such as railways with repairs of roads as well as eliminating the corruption associated with supply and distribution of petroleum products in the downstream sector of the oil industry. Since 1981, we have made these demands and none have been met by the government, yet they continue to loot and steal by increasing fuel prices.

The Goodluck administration is insincere to Nigerians. The Presidency had invited Labour to a follow-up discussion on the issue of fuel subsidy removal on Tuesday 20th December 2011, only for it to abort the process by removing the subsidy. The government announced to Nigerians that it was consulting with Labour and that even if the subsidy was to be removed, it would be done in April 2012, only for it to carry it out in January. These actions do not portray a government that is interested in dialogue.

The NLC is mobilising Nigerians for an indefinite nationwide peaceful demonstration. This could take days and our demand is that the government revert back to the normal price, after which Labour will continue negotiation with Government. There is no alternative because Goodluck's promised reinvestment package is just mere repetition of presentations made by the Babangida, Abacha and Obasanjo regimes. It is clear that like all Nigerian leaders President Jonathan's idea of removal of oil subsidy is only an increase in fuel prices.

From Monday 9th of January 2012, there will be general strike, mass rallies and street protests. All offices, airports and seaports, fuel stations, markets shops, banks, oil production will be closed. The die is cast!

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