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Labour, Others Warn Jonathan against Fuel Price Increase

Organized labour and two opposition parties ,Wednesday, warned President Goodluck Jonathan against another increase in the price of petrol.

They said in their  reactions to Jonathan’s statement on Tuesday that price of petrol would go up, that  he (the President)  would be courting  trouble if he did so.

In January 2012, the Federal Government had increased the price of petrol from N65 per litre to N141 per litre. But following protests that greeted the action, the goverment made a U-turn by reducing it to N97 per litre. Petrol, however, still sells above N110  per litre in some parts of the country, especially the  South-East.

The president, at the Nigeria Summit in Lagos on Tuesday, said his administration would still remove fuel subsidy after due consultations with Nigerians. Jonathan had said, “We cannot continue to waste resources meant for a greater number of Nigerians to subsidize the affluent middle class, who are the main beneficiaries (of fuel subsidy).”

But the two major  labour  groups  in the country –  the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress – reminded the President that the opposition by majority  of their members and  other Nigerians to fuel subsidy removal had not changed. A Deputy President of the NLC, Chief Promise Adewusi , spoke for the congress while the Secretary -General of the TUC, Mr. Musa Lawal, spoke for the  trade union  in separate telephone interviews with our correspondents.

The NLC   called on Jonathan to shelve the plan which it insisted would deepen the suffering of several members of organized labour and other Nigerians who are not part of “the affluent middle class.”  It said that even though it did not know the form the consultations the President spoke about would take, it had a position that fuel price increase was inimical to the well-being of Nigerians.

The congress said that its opposition to fuel subsidy removal could only change if Nigerians took a decision to embrace suffering.  The NLC stated, “We have a subsisting position on the issue of the removal of the fuel subsidy. Our position is that the issue of fuel increase is something that Nigerians cannot live with; The President should drop it.

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