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Labour Set For Showdown Over Fuel Price Hike

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Fuel Price Hike Labour

Labour Set For Showdown Over Fuel Price Hike

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the increase in the price of petrol from N121 to N143 per litre, vowing to resist its implementation.

This is even as the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has insisted that the hike was done in line with prevailing market realities.

The congress, in a statement issued by its president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said Nigerians have groaned to pay these unjust costs of petrol hike for years, adding that this latest increase might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.

The NLC therefore urged the federal government to revert to the old price of fuel, especially given the fact that price of crude oil in the international market has only slightly increased from the previous price before the so-called downward review was announced two months ago.

Wabba said: “When the statement by the PPPRA is juxtaposed with the recent killer electricity charges unveiled by DisCos, Nigerians cannot help but feel the heat of a potent threat to run millions of Nigerians under. It is even worse that this is coming at a time when our people are living on the precipice of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He stressed that the last downward review in the price of petrol was at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, saying the economic benefits of the so-called “downward” review was hardly enjoyed by ordinary Nigerians who were mostly indoors.

He expressed shock that just as the lockdown was being eased and as soon as the interstate travel ban was lifted, the government decided to hike petrol price.

Wabba said, “That this new hike in the pump price of petrol was announced without the approval of the board of the PPPRA and the oversight ministry speaks volume of the arbitrariness and public contempt in the operations of PPPRA. We find this deeply disturbing.

“There is no way Nigerians would accept a situation where we are charged international rates for a product which Nigeria is the sixth largest producer in the world.

“The extra costs that the PPPRA wants Nigerians to pay in order to promote “growth” and “investment” are actually the cost of profits made by countries that we ship our crude oil to, the cost of sea freight of the refined products, the cost of demurrage at our seaports when the refined products arrive, the cost of frequent devaluation of our national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector.”

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But reacting to the labour’s position and the threat to go on strike, the spokesman of PPPRA, Kimchi Apollo, told Source Friday that the agency did not take the decision unilaterally.

He said, “We took into consideration the various factors affecting the market as well as trying to ensure that petroleum products marketers do not exploit consumers.

“People must remember that when we started this thing in March we told the country that we are not going to do price fixing but give a guide by offering price range. That is what we have done.

“In reaching our decision we took into account various factors affecting the market. Most people talk about us (Nigeria) producing crude oil and most times think the downstream market has to do with our production of crude oil, but they fail to realise that we import petrol into this market and that involves a lot of factors. You need to understand too that we buy at the prevailing market price.

“We did what we did as an agency of government charged with the responsibility of managing product price so that operators do not take advantage of consumers.

“If we say we no longer want petrol subsidy then we must work with the market reality. If we compel the government to reduce the price, then the government will have no option but to pay subsidy.

“We have all been clamouring for a diversification of our economy. For government to be able to do so, it must be free from payment of fuel subsidy so that the money could be invested in other sectors of the economy.

“Everything was done in good faith, we took into consideration the fact that we don’t have to fix the price of the commodity, that marketers are not allowed to over-charge the consumer. If we allow for total deregulation as it is with diesel, you will see that the marketers will take advantage of the consumers. Take for instance, when the price of crude oil declined globally the price of diesel in the Nigeria market did not reflect that decrease.

“As for Labour contending with the price rise, we know that Labour is usually confrontational but that will not solve the problem for now.

If we must fix the industry then we all must be prepared to make some sacrifices to make it work.”

PDP Rejects N143.80k New Fuel Price

Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rejected the announced increase in fuel price from N123 to N143.80 per liter, describing it as a punishment to Nigerians given the prevailing economic hardship foisted on country by the administration.

The party said the hike, despite the decline price of crude oil in the international market, was grossly unjustifiable and has further exposes the insincerity of the APC and its administration.

PDP’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement noted that in directing a fuel price increase at the time Nigerians are facing the economic and social trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration shows a total lack of human feelings to the plights of citizens.

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Lagos-Ibadan Railway, Buhari to Commission January 2021

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Buhari to Commission Lagos-Ibadan Railway January 2021

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will commission the Lagos-Ibadan railway in January 2021 to improve movement for cargoes and passengers in the country.

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Amaechi made the disclosure during an oversight visit from Lagos to Ibadan while inspecting the ongoing construction of the standard gauge in Ibadan.

The Minister said that the contractors had done their best with the project while attributing weather conditions as one of the challenges being faced by the contractors.

The Minister tasked the contractors on the Lagos-Ibadan railway line to ensure completion of all the stations by December including the Apapa station which started late, so it can be commissioned and the route made fully operational.

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Senate President Calls For End To #EndSARS Protest

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#EndSARS: Senate President Calls for End to Protests

The Senate President , Ahmad Lawan, after a closed-door meeting with Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday called for an end to the hashtag EndSARS and hashtag EndSWAT protests that have rocked the country for the twelfth day.

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The Senate President  noted that since the issues raised by the protesters have been accepted by the government, the time had come for the protests to stop.

He further added, that government needs to have time to implement the demands of the protesters.

The meeting which took place Sunday afternoon also had the speaker of the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila in attendance.

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#EndSARS Protesters Launch “Soro Soke’’ Radio

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#EndSARS: Protesters Launch “Soro Soke’’ Radio

#EndSARS Protesters on Sunday launched an online radio, called “Soro Soke’’ even as the protests continue across the country.

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The Soro Soke radio has a bouquet of Programmes aimed at educating and communicating with protesters and also coordinate activities nationwide.

Soro Soke radio which has gone live will also serve as a platform to report missing persons.

The mantra, Soro soke, a Yoruba phrase which means ‘speak up,’ gained traction last week after the  #EndSARS protesters in Lagos told governor Babajide Sanwo-olu to ‘Soro Soke’ whilst addressing them.

Soro Soke radio has also opened a twitter handle to serve as a link between listeners and the media outlet.

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