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NLC rejects increase in the price of petrol

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‏The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, says it received with great shock and consternation the news of the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit known as ‘petrol’ from N121 to N143.

The increase, according to reports, is consequent upon a “monthly review meeting” by the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.

Referring to a statement released by the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Saidu Abdulkadir, purportedly on June 28, 2020, NLC said the PPPRA contradicted itself when it said that the latest price increase described as an “advisory” was meant to regulate a product that government claims had been deregulated.

It further explained, “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 volumes of the arbitrariness and public contempt in the operations of PPPRA. We find this deeply disturbing.”

The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, described the statement as very embarrassing that the PPPRA boss while trying to defend the indefensible appeared to be out of sorts and ready to clutch at any available straws to sell his “ice block merchandise” to “Eskimos”.

Apart from contradicting himself that PPPRA is still trying to regulate a deregulated product through “advisories”, the statement added that the PPPRA went on to exert more nails on the coffin of his own polemics when he argued that PPPRA was just like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) that would always act to protect the public interest.

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“That was how far the niceties went. The rest of the statement by the PPPRA boss, as reproduced in the excerpts below, was about how PPPRA plans to protect investors and increase their profit,” the statement further explained.

It noted that while the Market-Based Pricing Regime is a policy introduced to free the market of all encumbrances to investment and growth, it should not be misconstrued as to mean a total abdication of government’s responsibility to the sector and citizenry.

It added that the new pricing regime would encourage oil marketers to resume the supply of petrol, leading to further value creation in the downstream, foster job creation and ensure reasonable returns to investors.

NLC noted that it is unfortunate that Mr. Saidu Abdulkadir did not even feign pretense that government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Nigerians from the cut-throat tendencies of neoliberal market forces.

Contrary to the provisions of Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution, PPPRA claims that the abdication is not ‘total’, it said 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, stressing that it is even worse that this is coming at a time when our people are living on the precipice of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement observed, “Nigerians would recall that the last downward review in the price of petrol was at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. The economic benefits of the so-called “downward” review was hardly enjoyed by ordinary Nigerians who were mostly indoors. Just as the lockdown is being eased out and as soon as the inter-state travel ban was lifted, the government decided to hike the petrol price. Nigerian people and workers are forced to interpret this move as grand mischief and deceit.”

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It said it is clear even to the blind that the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub-sector is ‘self’ nay “government-inflicted”.

“The refusal by successive governments to fix our national oil refineries is at the root of this problem. The government simply wants to transfer the cost of its own inefficiencies to the Nigerian people. Nigerian workers say “No” to such,” the statement added.

It is grand mischief and deceit to keep comparing apples with mangoes, the statement explained, stressing that there is no way Nigerians would accept a situation where they 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”, according to the statement 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 the frequent devaluation of our national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector.”

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“Nigerians have groaned to pay these unjust costs for years. This latest increase might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back,” the statement said.

“We demand that the Federal Government reverts to the old price of petroleum 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,” the statement added.

NLC said it renewed its call for a national conversation on the management of Nigeria’s oil assets which it insists must be in tandem with the provisions of the constitution.

It said the constitution clearly mandates that the commanding heights of our national economy be held by the government in the interest of the citizens of Nigeria.

The congress demanded that the four national petroleum refineries must be fixed without any further delay, saying that Nigerian workers want to be appraised of the timelines set by the government to ensure that this is effectively done.

“Nigeria belongs to all of us. Workers are major stakeholders in the Nigerian project. Nigerian workers and people must not only be treated fairly but must be seen to have been so treated by their government,” the statement emphasized.

 

 

 

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Ondo inaugurates Operation Amotekun (Photos)

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The Ondo State Government on Tuesday inaugurated the Ondo State Security Network Agency also known as Operation Amotekun.

A few months ago, the bill setting up the security agency was passed into law by the state House of Assembly and shortly after, it was signed into law by the state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

At the inauguration ceremony of the agency, held at the Gani Fawehimi Arcade, in Akure, the state capital, Governor Akeredolu said with the Amotekun in operation there would be no more room for all kinds criminalities in the state, warning the criminals to steer clear of the state.

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No fewer than 192 recruited members of the corps were inaugurated at the ceremony.

The governor expressed optimism that no criminal element would trouble the relative peace enjoyed in the state as the agency had commenced operations.

He said,

“It was so horrible that marauders laid siege to the highways as well as in the farmlands waiting to kidnap or devour anyone insight. With the launch of the Amotekun, we resolved that it shall be no retreat, no surrender. We are not going to be intimidated or blackmailed.

”It is incontrovertible that the existing security framework is being overstretched and we had to device a means of confronting the challenge of insecurity head-on. That was when the concept of Amotekun came up. As Yorubas, we are not known to surrender to our adversaries and if our forebears did not, we should not.

“On 4th March, this year, just two months after the launch of Amotekun in Ibadan, the Bill setting up the Corps was signed into law, after diligent and thorough work by the State House of Assembly. The import of this is that Amotekun Corps is now a legal entity not just the idea of an individual.”

The governor, however, noted that the agency was not inaugurated to pursue his second term agenda.

” I am saying it again, that my ambition is not worth the insecurities that our people are confronted with, where at some point, people were afraid of travelling out of the state,” Akeredolu declared.

The Amotekun corps Commander, Mr Adetunji Adeleye, said the personnel were trained in collaboration with experienced hands drawn from the various security agencies in the state.

MORE READING!  Ondo inaugurates Operation Amotekun (Photos)

He reiterated the corps resolved on zero-tolerance to the crime through robust intelligence sharing with security agencies to reduce the spate of criminality in the state.

 

See Photos below;

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Sanwo-Olu commissions Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT corridor

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday commissioned the 13.65km Oshodi-Abule-Egba Bus Rapid Transit corridor, deployed additional 550 high and medium capacity buses on the road and launched the extended E-ticketing system.

The governor said the 13.65-kilometre journey to Abule-Egba from Oshodi, which used to take over an hour, would now be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Speaking during the inauguration of the BRT system infrastructure at the Dopemu bus shelter, Sanwo-Olu said the ceremony was a fulfilment of his administration’s pledge to significantly improve traffic management and transportation system in the state.

“This is the very first of our six-point development agenda encapsulated as T-H-E-M-E-S. This administration made the pledge knowing that you, our people, are the main reason we have been entrusted with the management of your commonwealth”.

“Although our promise was to deliver this project in May this year, it had to be shifted forward due to the disruption brought about by COVID-19”.

According to the governor, the bus transit system had proven to be an effective means of achieving a fast, reliable and efficient movement of large number of people across the state.

“Since March 2008, when the first phase of this new initiative was launched, thousands of Lagosians have continued to enjoy improved travel experience along the designated routes every day.

In order to ensure that the BRT service is accessible to a greater number of our people and in line with the Lagos state strategic transport master plan which seeks to integrate road, water and rail transportation, new corridors and routes are being opened”.

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The governor said the project was very significant because of its immense benefits to Lagosians in the different communities it straddles and to visitors.

“This new BRT corridor will bring great relief to over 60,000 commuters who will use this facility daily. Travel time, which is estimated at an average of two hours during peak periods, will be significantly reduced to an average of about thirty minutes. This will translate to improved health of our people, a safer environment, and increased value of socio economic activities in our state.”

While acknowledging that the project was started by his predecessor, Sanwo-Olu said it was one of the dividends of his administration’s investment in the transport sector for efficient traffic management and transportation.

“The completion of this project which was commenced by the past administration is one of the dividends of this administration’s investment in the transport sector for efficient traffic management and transportation which we believe is crucial to facilitating the emergence of a smart and 21st-century economy.

“All our actions are geared towards birthing a new commuting order through seamless travel in a near congestion-free state. This administration is very keen to see all transport modes integrated through all our intervention in traffic management and transportation,” Sanwo-Olu said.

In her welcome address earlier, the Managing Director of Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, Engr. Abimbola Akinajo said the four projects rolled into one attest to the commitment of the Governor to live up to his promise to reform traffic management and public transportation, which is the first pillar of the THEMES agenda of the Governor.

“Mr. Governor, permit me to state that the socio-economic importance of the project cannot be over-emphasized. The Oshodi – Abule-Egba Corridor is undoubtedly one of the busiest 13.65km long bus corridors in West Africa, with over 5,500 mini-buses moving passengers per day.

“It is a major link for millions of Lagosians who commute in and out of Alimosho, Egbeda, Ijaiye, Iyana-Ipaja and other places to other parts of Lagos or to neighbouring Ogun state and the Republic of Benin.

“This new BRT corridor will bring about an improved mobility with the capacity to move over 350, 000 passengers per day, reduce travel time by at least 35%, enhance social and economic development along the corridor and enhance the projection of Lagos as a world class society amongst others,” she said.

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Kwara records eight new cases of COVID-19

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Kwara has recorded eight new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as at 11.45p.m on Monday, Aug 10.

The state now has a total of 865 confirmed cases of the virus, while one patient was discharged.

Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, made this known in a statement on Tuesday day in Ilorin.

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According to him, out of the 865 confirmed cases, 516 patients were discharged leaving 330 active cases in the state.

Ajakaye said 19 deaths have been recorded out of the 3, 853 people tested for the virus.

He added that 2, 922 tested negative for coronavirus with 66 tests being awaited.

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(NAN)

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