May 25, 2015 – The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on the Federal Government to urgently resolve the current fuel scarcity, especially diesel and premium motor spirit (PMS), in the interest of Nigeria.
The TUC also called for thorough probe of the Ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), and the Department of Petroleum Resources.
In a statement signed by President and Secretary of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Musa Lawal, the TUC said something needs be done to end the ugly development whereby workers have been trekking long distances to their respective workplaces since the catastrophic fuel scarcity started some two weeks ago.
“The Congress finds the ongoing scarcity totally uncalled for, a needless pain, with transport fares and the prices of goods sky-rocketing to unprecedented levels. Indeed the unsavoury situation is biting harder as commercial activities across the country have been grounded. Unfortunately there appears to be no end in sight to the nightmare.
“The situation has become so bad that some domestic airlines have cancelled or rescheduled their flights as a result of their inability to source aviation fuel.
“Prominent banks and media houses have also alerted the nation that they will be closing their daily operations at 1:00 pm. until further notice. Telecommunications outfits have also given notice of likely shutdown of some of their base stations because of the scarcity of diesel to power their generators. Even the public power supply has been rendered comatose for want of fuel to sustain it, thus occasioning total black-out that has crippled the economy in most parts of the country. It is as though there is no government in place.
“How else does one rationalise the fact that the inhabitants of the sixth largest oil-producing nation in the world are suddenly buying fuel at between N250 and N600 per litre?”, the TUC queried.
It noted that the union is particularly dismayed that many lives have been lost as a result of the scarcity. “It is no news that we live in a society where most people contend with unbelievably overwhelming pressure that has often given rise to high blood pressure and other health challenges, and this is in a nation whose health system has been very dysfunctional within the last three decades.
Nigerians are suffering and dying in their hundreds. The Congress is of the opinion that the twilight of the Jonathan administration should not translate to a total dislocation of the economy and mortgaging of the people’s wellbeing.
“ For the fact that the administration is still in power, it is duty-bound to arrest the nationwide fuel scarcity, and we expect that this be done immediately”, TUC said.
It noted that the average Nigerian is not interested in anything contrary, not even in the claims and counter-claims between the Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and oil marketers over the so-called N159 billion or balance N200 billion subsidy payment.
According to TUC, all Nigerians want is to see the by-products of the black gold made readily available at the approved pump prices and at every filling station in the land.
“We have also noted recent media reports quoting a group as saying that the current fuel scarcity in the country might persist beyond May 29 unless Federal Government liquidates the outstanding N200 billion allegedly owed oil marketers.
“We advise the Government to avert the threat by meeting its obligation to the marketers”, it noted that implored all Nigerians to remain calm and keep hope alive in anticipation that the incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari would promptly tackle the issues satisfactorily if the present administration fails to do so.