Eminent Nigerians including the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu have called on the labour unions spoiling for a fight with the federal government over fuel price hike to rescind the plan as the proposed strike action is not in the interest of workers.
Others who spoke on Tuesday before the National Industrial Court ordered the labour to shelf the strike included Dr. Olapade Agoro, former Presidential Candidate of the defunct National Action Council (NAC) and National Chairman of the Forum of Non- Governmental Organizations in Nigeria, Comrade Wole Badmus argued that the proposed action would be counter productive.
According to Oba Akiolu who spoke in his palace at Iga: “It is like the people saying they are going on strike now, the strike is not in the best interest of their own. All they need to do is to table their grievances and cooperate with the government, and probably there is a better way in which things should be done, they should not hesitate by letting the government know.
“What will they achieve in destruction, destruction, they will not achieve anything, all they need is to dialogue with the government. They have some genuine people among them but the way they are going about it is not the way they should”, he said.
For Agoro, in the past, strike actions had not brought to the masses any long lasting good and benefits than unwarranted end of the road pains, agonies and sorrows making most of the labour leaders un- necessarily popular, politically strong and rich while leaving the workers and the masses not only improvised but poorer than the Church rats.
He however observed that the Federal Government’s hike of pump price from N86.50 to N145 per liter is not only sadist, wicked and unrealistic to the people’s plight but morally wrong.
While noting that the prevailing wrongs and failings in the economy of the nation were brought about by treasury looters, he however warned that the poor must not be made to continue to suffer for economic wrongs they never committed.
“Although President Muhammadu Buhari since he came into office this time round if anything, has done the nation and humanity proud by exposing some of the ugly, shameless and corruptive evils that stole from the nation treasury, and brought untold shame to this nation, it becomes pertinent to say that he should not be seen punishing the poor for the offence committed by the devils who stole to power”, he added.
According to him, life has been too harsh and horrid in the past few months for the average Nigerian, saying the Federal Government should be realistic and not allow the labour and organizations to set the nation on edge with the avoidable strike, adding that it will pay the nation and sooth jaded nerves, if the Pump price of petrol is immediately reversed to nothing more than Naira 110 per liter.
Badmos, at a press conference in Abuja said the association disassociated itself from the planned labour strike and protest against deregulation policy.
He said: “We hereby declare our total support for the newly introduced price modulation template in the oil sector. We cannot afford to be learning the curve all the time. Nigerians have had enough of this mess and we must stop it now. We also wish to commend this bold initiative of Mr. President with the strong believe that his credentials as an upright Nigerian will ensure that the gains of this deregulation program are not eroded.
“Deregulation of the downstream oil and gas industry would help government to eradicate fuel scarcity and ensure constant supply across the country. It would also create an inflow of foreign investment while persistent smuggling of petroleum products and inefficiencies in the sector will be eliminated”, he noted.
According to him, deregulation would lead to the uninterrupted operation of the refineries and would also guarantee a steady supply by enabling stakeholders and independent marketers to participate in product importation and marketing. Complete deregulation of the downstream sector will reduce corruption, inaccurate record keeping, inefficiency, smuggling and insufficient product supply.
“We expect that with competition, more private refineries will be built, and NNPC refineries working at full capacity, this should drop prices considerably”, he said.