A member of the Seventh House of Representatives, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, has said that the removal of fuel subsidy and the total deregulation of the downstream sector by President Muhammadu Buhari was not a ploy to inflict sufferings on Nigerians, but targeted at breaking the stranglehold of some cabals in the sector.
He said it became necessary in order to curtail the corruption in the oil sector and block those feeding fat on the multi-billion naira being expended on subsidy on annual basis to the detriment of poor Nigerians.
Faparusi, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti state, said the mere fact that the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN) supported the policy further confirmed legitimacy on the federal government’s decision.
The former member of the House of Representatives appealed to the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to take hasty decision by embarking on industrial action.
Faparusi, in a statement on Monday in Ado Ekiti, reasoned that it will be disservice to the nation for the labour to allow itself, knowingly or unknowingly to be used to frustrate attempt by President Buhari to restructure the oil sector and stop the monumental fraud being perpetrated by some operators in the name off fuel subsidy.
“For labour leaders to be able to take appropriate steps on this sensitive matter, it must take advice from NUPENG and PENGASSAN, because they know the workings of that sector more than any other person.
“The federal government has been paying subsidy for more than three decades, despite we are buying fuel at N200 and N250 per litre. What has been the benefit to poor Nigerians that were the target of the palliative measure?
“It was sad to know that some major marketers will load at the NNPC and diverted same to Cameroun, Niger, Chad or Benin Republic and still turned around to collect subsidy over products he sold to the citizens of other nations. This madness must stop and the time is now.
“The price of every product around the world is determined by market forces. Going by the analysis of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Nigerians have two things to gain from the FG’s step, One is the outright removal of subsidy and channeling of the money accruable to the states, so that they can pay salaries and the second is the forcing of the fuel price down at the long run by market forces.
“It marvels me that labour leaders were not calling for strikes in those states that have no justifiable reasons not to pay salaries, I wonder why now if not for politics”, he asked .
Faparusi appealed to Nigerians to endure the pains of the moment for the gains of the future, expressing confidence that President Buhari will not betray the confidence reposed in him, being a man that thinks mostly of the masses.