1,600 buses: FG lied – NLC
Says TUC importing buses
The Nigeria Labour Congress has faulted the claim of the Federal Government that it intends to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy on petrol with the importation of 1,600 buses.
The NLC said the claim was a lie as it was the Trade Union Congress that has started the process of importing the 1,600 buses in question.
In a statement issued on Thursday by its Acting General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa, the NLC said government was only trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians.
It said even if it were to be true that the government was importing 1,600 buses to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal, it would amount to two buses per local government, which would amount to a drop in the ocean.
The statement also debunked the report in some online medium on Thursday that labour was meeting with the government on the resolution of the face-off on the removal of subsidy.
The statement described the purported meeting as “absolute falsehood,” adding that labour leaders are still engaged in the mobilization of Nigerians for the strike scheduled to commence on Monday.
The statement by Lakemfa reads in full: The attention of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been drawn to stories planted on the internet today that the leadership of the Labour Movement was meeting with some government officials on issue of increase in fuel prices. This is an absolute falsehood. Labour leaders are busy mobilising for the indefinite strike action and mass protests which commence from Monday 9th January 2012, and have no time for frivolous, unsustainable and unproductive ‘dialogue’ with the Presidency or any of its Dialogue Committees.
We see these stories of “meetings” with the Federal Government as mischievous and part of government’s strategy to break the fuel hike protest. We restate categorically that the Labour Movement has no intention to hold any discussion with the Federal Government or any of its officials on the issue of increases in petrol prices until the price is reverted to N65 per litre to allow for a level playing field. We call on workers and the Nigerian people to ignore all such stories and remain focused and committed to participate actively in the general strikes, mass rallies and street protests starting from Monday 9th January, 2012.
Alleged Marketers Funding of Protests
Our attention has also been drawn to reports in the media that same oil marketers were funding the general strike and mass protests against the excessive increase in petrol prices. These reports which are planted in the media by the Presidency are a desperate ploy to divert attention from the mass protests. We wish to state categorically that no oil marketer or any individual can fund a protest of the working people. The negative impact of the increase in petrol prices is there to see; astronomical rise in the cost of transportation, school fees, medical bills, food and services.
The Nigerian people, unlike those in government are independent minded and cannot be bought by any group be they marketers, the IMF or World Bank. The NLC advises the Jonathan administration to wake up to the reality that Nigerians are resolved to resist its punitive policies and are determined to reclaim their country from those who are intent on bringing it down.
The Presidency’s Buses
The Presidency yesterday announced that it is importing 1,600 buses to cushion the effects of its inhuman hike in the price of petrol. First, we think it is a false claim as the buses in question refer to those being imported by Trade Union Congress (TUC). Secondly, the announcement is laughable because if divided by the 774 Local Governments in the country, it amounts to 2 buses per Local Government. Thirdly, one would have thought that the Presidency would put these “cushioning effects” in place before the unreasonable hike in petrol price.