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Governors, labour unions allege mismanagement of oil proceeds

. Say only 8 states are benefitting from fuel subsidy

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have alleged gross mismanagement of oil proceeds particularly in regards to the administration of fuel subsidy in the country.

Given the unending debate on fuel subsidy – to be or not to be, the organisations, like the House of Representatives, believe there is a need to carefully verify figures and estimates quoted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).  

The parties agreed that “the lacuna in the subsidy removal agenda was hidden in the untruths bandied by the administrators of the subsidy, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), which both groups identify to be at the forefront of the mismanagement of the proceeds accrued therein.”     

These were part of the resolutions reached yesterday at the end of a meeting between the NGF and the NLC, which was held at the NGF Secretariat in Abuja.

In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Adbulrazaque Barkindo, the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, stressed the need for collaboration between the two bodies to proffer lasting solutions on the knotty issue of fuel subsidy for the benefit of all.

Fayemi was quoted: “There are raging questions of accountability associated with subsidy removal in the country and observed that the NGF and the NLC can jointly work together to proffer solutions that heal the economy and provide succour to the Nigerian people.”

NGF, NLC collaboration

The NGF Chairman argued that such a partnership has become imperative given that only eight of the 36 states in Nigeria are benefitting the most from the subsidy regimes without giving further proof.   

The statement reads: “Fayemi told the labour leadership that subsidy removal has remained an ongoing conversation not just among governors but the country at large, and emphasised that governors cannot but be part of the solution providers in this onerous task that is confronting the nation.

“There are raging questions of accountability associated with subsidy removal in the country and observed that the NGF and the NLC can jointly work together to proffer solutions that heal the economy and provide succour to the Nigerian people.

“We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about… because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting. We can only move forward if the NLC engages all those who are knowledgeable in the field like PENGASSAN to conduct a thorough research into the sector before any further action is taken on subsidy.”

“The partnership with the NLC must confront the perennial issue of palliatives for the common man towards cushioning the effects of subsidy removal on the citizenry.

“Finding succour for the ordinary Nigerian at this time is absolutely imperative and necessary now more than ever,” especially as the NNPC has requested for N3 trillion for fuel subsidy in 2022.”

We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about… because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting.

Revamping power sector

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who joined the meeting virtually, warned that Nigeria has a choice of continuing to behave like Father Christmas (Santa Claus) or take concrete actions rather than throwing away N3 trillion on subsidy.

He argued that beyond fuel subsidy administration, there is the need to totally revamp the power sector, which is also being subsidised.

“Without power, we will continue to throw millions of our people into unemployment, and ultimately, poverty, reminding all present that we should know that we have a country to manage,” he said.

Like Obaseki, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who also joined the meeting virtually, recalled that the NGF had spent three years on this matter and cannot continue with the subsidies regime.

He said the stakeholders must find options and create opportunities that address the hardships that stare Nigerians in the face, adding that “the two groups should immediately set out to work to find the light at the end of the tunnel.”

NLC and TUC presidents, Ayuba Waba, and Quadri Olaleye, respectively, decried that the issue of subsidy had always been shrouded in secrecy on the part of the government and expressed concerns over the conflicting figures from the managers of the petroleum sector.

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