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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has admitted that the increase in petrol pump price and electricity tariffs were a serious financial burden on Nigerians.

A statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena and made available to newsmen on Tuesday, pleaded with Nigerians to endure the pains as it claimed that they would enjoy the “gains” of deregulation in the long run.

The APC further claimed that rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries was in the pipeline and noted that full deregulation of the oil sector would encourage private investors to invest in establishment of local refineries.

Ahead planned strike by organised labour, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the ruling party urged labour leaders “not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs.”

The statement read in part: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) is not oblivious of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates. We urge Nigerians to endure now and enjoy gains soon.

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“The reviews are crucial and hard thought decisions by government. On the positive side, the short and long-term benefits on the citizenry and our national life will become obvious and directly felt in critical sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and social services targeted at the poor.

“We point to shocking estimates by the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) which reports that the budget for fuel subsidies in 2019 was sufficient to enrol the entire population of Nigeria in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Further, fuel subsidies took over N10 trillion of our national resources since 2006.

“At least, the generality of Nigerians and stakeholders agree on a thousand and one reasons fuel subsidy has become unsustainable. The perceived benefits of fuel subsidies have long been overtaken by the previous corruption and drain on scarce resources that should be directed to other critical sectors.

“In line with the current administration’s deregulation drive and move to increase private-sector participation in the petroleum sector, the task before us now is to improve our local refining capacities which we are already on course to achieving and maintain a competitive, market-driven, transparent and accountable petroleum pricing template which meets global best practices, particularly in a developing country such as ours.

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“While government works assiduously to solve the country’s electricity challenges permanently, it realises that many Nigerians and businesses still rely on alternative sources for power supply to meet electricity needs, hence its current focus on improving electricity and service delivery while also protecting poor and vulnerable Nigerians from arbitrary and estimated electricity billing.

“As with government’s decision to increase Nigerian worker’s minimum wage and other social investments, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration takes the welfare of the citizenry seriously. We call on all stakeholders — government at all levels, private sector organisations, labour unions, civil societies, students and youth groups to support governments decision on the ongoing deregulation exercise as the citizens will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

“We urge stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs.

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“The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidising fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch despite huge allocations and subsequent theft of the resources meant go improve the sector. We urge all to support the current administration’s economic policies to uplift Nigerians.”

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Again, Boko Haram ambush Borno governor’s convoy

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Two days after an attack on the convoy of his officials, the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, was ambushed Sunday by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram.

The ambush occurred as the governor’s convoy was departing Baga town in Kukawa Local Government Area.

At least 15 security personnel had died in an ambush on Friday as a convoy of the governor was driving towards Baga town to participate in the official relocation of IDP back to their reclaimed communities after years of displacement.

The Friday ambush was condemned by President Muhammadu Buhari who suggested sabotage of Mr Zulum’a efforts as governor.

Sources familiar with the latest incident said the attack happened near a village called Cross-Kauwa.

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Cross-Kauwa is a few kilometres from a location called Mile-4, where the Nigerian military has its biggest camp in that area.

“As we approached Cross-Kauwa an explosive believed to be landmine detonated and was immediately followed with the serious firing of guns from all sides,” said a government official who does not want to be named in this report.

“It was so terrifying that some of the security details in the convoy engaged in a brief moment of argument as to whether to make a U-turn and return to Baga or we should charge through. It was later decided that we had to forge on despite the shooting. That was how we charged through the ambush, and most of our vehicles had their tires deflated or riddled with bullets. We did not stop until we got to Monguno town.”

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The source said there was no death from Sunday’s failed ambush.

“Thank God there was no death except some few injuries,” another survivor, Sadiq Abubakar, said,

“About three vehicles escaped with shattered windscreens, while the Press Crew bus conveying journalists, had flat tyres. A military gun truck was also severely hit, while a soldier sustained a bullet wound on his shoulder.”

The governor and his entourage have since arrived in Maiduguri.

 

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More details of the latest incident will be provided in subsequent updates.

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BREAKING: Labour suspends nationwide strike, protests (PHOTOS)

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Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has suspended its planned nationwide strike that would have started today, Monday, September 28, in protest against the hike in pump price of fuel and electricity tariff.

Earlier, there were indications that the Federal Government and NLC might reach an agreement to avert the looming nationwide strike.

The meeting, which started at about 8:30 pm on Sunday and spilled over till Monday morning had Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; Minister of State for Power, Godwin Jeddy-Agba and Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

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The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo(SAN) tweeted that there was hope the industrial crisis might be avoided.

He stated on his verified Twitter handle(@fkeyamo): “Still negotiating with labour at exactly 12.34am. Some progress have been made. Concrete proposals on the table from both sides. “Details being worked on by the temporary Secretariat. Gradually moving towards a point of convergence. Let’s hope….”

Furthermore, a source told Vanguard that it is possible the tariff will be suspended for two weeks, but said nothing specific about fuel pump price.

The source also said a joint government/Labour committee will be set up to review the issues within those two weeks.

Vanguard also learned that a communique is being hammered out, an indication that some sort of agreement had been arrived at.

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A communiqué, read by the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, after the meeting, disclosed that government agreed to suspend electricity tariff hike for two weeks pending when a committee set up would examine the justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC.

He, however, noted that total deregulation in the downstream sector remains, adding that palliatives would be offered to Nigerian workers to cushion the effects of burden.

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Details of the agreement reached by parties below.

 

 

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