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Fresh fuel price hike: Oil workers read riot act

Posted by Mobilise for pre-emptive protests on 2003/09/08 | Views: 449 |

Fresh fuel price hike: Oil workers read riot act

OIL workers under the aegis of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have read a riot act to the Federal Government which they asked to drop any plan that may be in the pipeline for a fresh hike in the price of petroleum products............

OIL workers under the aegis of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have read a riot act to the Federal Government which they asked to drop any plan that may be in the pipeline for a fresh hike in the price of petroleum products.

They warned of dire consequences for government should it carry out any upward review of the current price regime of the products.

Not prepared to be caught unawares by the Federal Government, whose officials have consistently advocated higher prices of petroleum products, the workers, weekend, vowed to mobilise Nigerians, specifically mass organisations, students and market men and women for protests to pre-empt the alleged move.

President Olusegun Obasanjo had last weekend hinted of inevitability of another fuel price hike, barely two months after an eight-day anti-fuel price hike protects grounded the nation to a halt, when he told Nigerians to accept the reality of living with scarcity of petroleum products if they were not ready to pay higher prices.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which led Nigerians on the week-long nationwide strike and mass protests that forced government last June to reduce the price of the premium motor spirit (petrol) from N40 per litre to N34 along side the price of other petroleum products has fixed a meeting of its central working committee (CWC) for Thursday, September 11, to take a decision on the new threat.

Although the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPA), government agency vested with the responsibility of regulating petroleum products prices denied last Thursday immediate plan to increase the price of the products, NUPENG president, Comrade Akpatason, told Sunday Vanguard that on no account should Nigerians accept another hike in prices of petroleum products because the push for the increase was being engineered by government officials who he described as importers hell bent on making super profit at the expense of the ordinary Nigerian.

Said he: "One wonders the type of government we have that derives pleasure in punishing the common people. The effect of the last fuel hike struggle where the nation lost a colossal and yet-to-be ascertained amount of money is still being felt all over the country, yet government officials have continued to clamour for another increase". "It is strange. The problem is that these people want to peg the price to a certain level where they can make super profit. The same people who are importing these products are the same people clamouring for the increase. They are people in government using proxies and fronts to import these products. They are not satisfied with the present level of prices. They are only interested in themselves", Akpatason stated.

The NUPENG boss pointed out: "Nigerians should start fighting against any increase now. The students, market women, traders, peasants, civil society groups, workers and all Nigerians should start the fight.

We are prepared to mobilise them to pre-empt this move".

"We will not wait till there is another increase before we protest. It should not be for only workers alone. President Obasanjo is the minister of petroleum and has refused to repair the refineries so that he can continue to import the products. They know that if the refineries are working optimally, they have no excuse to continue to import and the super profit they are after will not come. We will not accept another increase both as NUPENG under the NLC and Nigerians. Like I said, the time for the struggle is now and after the hike must have been effected", he emphasised.

On the first 100 days of the Obasanjo second term, Akpatason said it was all controversies and disappointment for Nigerians.

Akpatason noted that right from the swearing-in of the government, it had been one controversy after another, and one disappointment after another and stressed that the first 100 days of the government in its second term had been pains all through for Nigerians and controversies all through the government.

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