NLC threatens strike if petrol scarcity persists into New Year – Labour

Protest against PMS price hike in Abuja
Protest against PMS price hike in Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has threatened it would embark on industrial action if the petrol scarcity biting the country persists into the New Year.

NLC gave the threat in a statement issued on Friday, December 29.

The statement however lauded the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, for directing the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to cut short its recess and immediately convene industry stakeholders meeting to tackle the petrol crisis.

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However, a member of Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu said the problems of the downstream sector that have led to the petrol crisis in the country exposes what he described as “crisis of corporate governance in the petroleum sector.”

According to him, the downstream sector has a problem of “abysmal absence of accountability, transparency and openness in the administration of the petroleum resources of Nigeria.”

He said only the legislature can bring an end to the crisis in the sector, adding that by directing the senate committee members to resume duty and tackle the crisis, the Senate had shown that the legislature is truly “a vent for public grievances, a “useful organ of public opinion.”

He said “there is a deep-seated conflict of interest in the downstream sector. Regulators are operators; regulators are importers; importers are products hoarders, regulators are also saboteurs.”

“Definitely, we have a sector captured in our hands, Nigeria and Nigerians need liberation.”

Aremu also called for a “total ban on importation to reinvent domestic refineries and beneficiation to crude oil,” alleging that the “NNPC is the only public corporation that annually awards its directors long service incentives for no service at all, for non-functioning refineries.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Kabiru Marafa, had disclosed that following the directive of the Senate President, the committee has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru and other relevant stakeholders in the petroleum sector to a crucial meeting on Thursday January 4, 2018.