’This Will Set Nigeria On Fire’ – NLC Takes Position On Fuel Subsidy Removal


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the plan by the federal government to totally remove fuel subsidy.

Naija News reported that the federal government had announced the plan to remove fuel subsidy in June 2023, with marketers and other petroleum stakeholders projecting that the development may push fuel prices to N750 per litre.

Also, the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APC PCC) said the incoming Bola Tinubu administration will decide the date the fuel subsidy will be removed.

But in a chat with Vanguard on Tuesday, NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, warned that those pushing for subsidy removal in Nigeria are out to set the country on fire.

He stated that organized labour will not accept the removal of fuel subsidy, stressing that nobody should drag Nigerian masses and workers into any increase in fuel price in the name of subsidy removal.

He said it will be wrong for any government to talk about subsidy or no subsidy for a product that is naturally and thoroughly well-endowed in the country.

He said: “It will be uncharitable in 2023 for any government to talk about subsidy or no subsidy for a product that is naturally and thoroughly well-endowed in Nigeria. It smacks of wickedness for us to be discussing subsidy as an issue, rather than discussing production.

“The energy and resources people are putting into discussing subsidy show a lack of focus. It shows a lack of seriousness and a lack of appreciation of what governance should be. If in 2023, rather than getting people that will make proper use of our natural endowment, we are busy discussing the cosmetic challenge of subsidy or no subsidy, it is absurd.

“One would have thought that people should be setting before the incoming government a genuine challenge on how to move Nigeria forward, not for us to continue in the rigmarole of vicious, musical chairs and absurd comedy of subsidy or no subsidy. We cannot be people that do not respond to records.

“It is an open thing that the government that is about to leave in 2016 told Nigerians they had removed the subsidy. Despite the NLC’s position that there was no subsidy to remove and that what people were harping on was a price hike. They had told us that they removed the subsidy in 2016, so what subsidy are they removing or are we discussing now?

“What we should be discussing is how to refine crude oil in Nigeria and make the product available for domestic consumption. Anything outside that shows the wickedness of the kind of intellectuals we have. We feel sick each time we see normal people come out on national television giving theories on subsidies and how they can be ploughed into healthcare or education.

“Nothing is more dangerous than the way our elites try to hoodwink Nigerians. The truth is Nigerians need to wake up, we cannot continue in this vicious cycle of humiliation and slavery.”

The NLC scribe said the federal government should focus on the local refining of petroleum products and not subsidy removal.

He added: “There is no subsidy for anybody to be removed. The point that has to be made is that we must refine it. Anything outside making our refineries work is wickedness. We need to make our refineries work.

“It is not rocket science. We hear them on an almost daily basis say Taskforce has demolished or destroyed certain numbers of refineries in Niger Delta creeks. Why can’t you use our universities to process quality control, why will you not use our universities to process cheaper and smaller processes of refining?

“We should stop treating these elites with kid gloves. Our elites are wicked to the country. So, don’t tolerate this new wave of wastage of our resources in the name of a media wave to create a capture of the psyche of Nigerians on subsidy removal that is imminent. What should be imminent is the local refining of crude in Nigeria. Nothing else should be imminent.

“Anybody moving Nigerians in the direction of subsidy removal wants to blow up the country. They can go ahead and blow up the country. But the truth is anything less than refining crude in Nigeria; you cannot push us into that argument. We have been down this route before, and it has never paid off.

“We keep calling it a fraud and that fraud was confirmed in 2016 when they looked us in the face and told us that they have removed the subsidy. They looked us in the face and said they were finally removing subsidiaries to free Nigerians. We protested, and they said we didn’t have any capacity to stop them and went ahead with it.

“They should not drag us into any increase in fuel price in the name of subsidy removal. Any increase in petrol price from the government in the name of subsidy removal, we will challenge it. We will work against it, it is straightforward.”