The Muslim Rights Concern has said that the planned strike of the Nigeria Labour Congress over the removal of fuel subsidy was politically motivated.
The Islamic human rights organisation spoke on the development in a statement it issued on Sunday in Lagos.
MURIC therefore called on NLC to change its stance before it is fully exposed.
In a statement in the early hours of Monday by its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC said: “We are in possession of the video clip of a press conference addressed by the National Publicity Secretary of a faction of the Labour Party (LP), Abayomi Arabambi, in which he revealed that the same NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had supported the party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, when he pledged to remove oil subsidy if elected president.
“It amounts to double standard for the same Peter Obi and his party to support the workers’ union in its planned strike over oil subsidy. It smirks of high level immorality, undisguised deceit and hypocrisy of the highest order. Peter Obi had described oil subsidy as organised crime during the campaigns. It has to remain so. Obi’s sudden volte-face on oil subsidy is illogical. It is inexplicable.
“Nigerians must open their eyes very wide to be able to understand what is happening. The difference between LP as a political party and the NLC which is a workers’ union is like the difference between six and half a dozen. Peter Obi is trying to get through the bends what it could not achieve through the straights. It is an attempt to hijack the workers’ union for a personal ambition.
“NLC has lost its credibility by opposing the withdrawal of oil subsidy. We advise its president, Joe Ajaero, to retrace his steps before it is too late. Nigerians know where the shoe pinches them.
“Oil subsidy is a cancerous tumour in the nation’s anatomy which must be removed before it destroys all parts of its body. No competent surgeon will hesitate to amputate a rotten limb in order to save the rest of the body. That rotten limb in the body of the Nigerian economy is oil subsidy. It must go if the economy has to survive.
“We cannot continue like this. We cannot allow the wolves among us who masquerade as oil marketers to come under the guise of oil subsidy to arrogate all the milk and honey in the land to themselves. The time to stop oil subsidy is now.
“We charge Nigerians of all political divides to join hands with the new administration in ensuring that oil subsidy is killed permanently. It must not be allowed to rise again.
“All other sectors are suffering because of oil subsidy. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) revealed in February 2023 that oil subsidy now consumes N400 billion monthly (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/582724-fuel-subsidy-now-above-n400bn-monthly-nnpcl.html). That is a humongous amount of money that should have gone to education, health, security, etc.
“Because of oil subsidy, 7,256 nurses trained by Nigeria left for Britain in one year alone (https://punchng.com/7256-nigerian-nurses-left-for-uk-in-one-year-report/). 5,000 medical doctors also took the brain drain train to Britain within eight years (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/560511-brain-drain-over-5000-nigerian-doctors-move-to-uk-in-eight-years.html?tztc=1).
“As a result of this oil-subsidy-induced neglect of the health sector, one million Nigerians are blind, 300,000 Nigerians die of malaria annually, 30 million are hypertensive, four million suffer from diabetes, 400,000 have tuberculosis, 32 million have river blindness, 130,000 die of pneumonia and 4,500 pregnant women die every year. Yet the calamities are avoidable if we drop oil subsidy.
“Because of oil subsidy, power and education sectors are in comatose and the subsidy cabal smiles to the bank. 55 million Nigerians have no access to education. It is on record that the education sector received a meagre N4.6 trillion in seven years from 2016 to 2022.
“The percentages of budgetary allocations to education from 2016 to 2022 were 7.6%, 6.1%, 7.1%, 8.4%, 6.5%, 5.7% and 5.4% in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. This was in spite of the recommendation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) of 26% budgetary allocation to education.
“Nigerians must summon the courage to give subsidy thieves the fight of their lives. We cannot wait for tomorrow to begin the struggle. Tomorrow will definitely be too late. We must frontally confront the monster now. Oil subsidy must go and, like a frightened dog, NLC must put its tail between its legs and run back to the drawing board. This politically motivated plan to go on strike has failed.”