This followed President Bola Tinubu’s pronouncement that the fuel subsidy regime has ended given that the budget he inherited from the previous administration has no provision for subsidy payment.
This decision sparked a chain reaction as prices of goods and transport have skyrocketed owing to the resultant hike in fuel pump prices, compounding the hardship of the Nigerian masses.
The NLC, after a deadlocked meeting with the federal government on the matter, has insisted on a reversal of the policy and demanded adequate consultations with all the stakeholders to agree on palliatives measures before the fuel subsidy can be removed.
In light of this, the labour union threatened to carry out a nationwide protest and an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
Onanuga said NLC playing politics with subsidy
Reacting to the development, the veteran journalist appealed to Nigerian workers to ignore NLC’s call to strike, alleging that the labour union has been “politically tainted” and therefore can be trusted.
He said this in a statement he posted on his Twitter page on Saturday, June 3, 2023, where he also accused Ajaero of acting the script of the opposition Labour Party.
According to him, the planned protest was conceived with the aim to cause destabilisation for the Tinubu administration.
Onanuga said, “NLC President Joe Ajaero has asked workers to go on strike next Wednesday over the removal of petrol subsidy, despite being privy to the distressing financial figures, which justified why subsidy ought to have been scrapped a long time ago.
“My advice to the perceptive workers and the Nigerian populace is simply to ignore Ajaero and his ilk. He is playing politics and is actually acting the script of the opposition Labour Party, out to destabilise the young Tinubu administration.
“Besides, one wonders whose interest Ajaero is championing, when he did not oppose the position of his Labour Party and presidential candidate, who campaigned with the promise to scrap subsidy from Day One if elected.
“NLC and TUC leaders knew since last year November that subsidy will be scrapped from July 1 as no provision has been made in the budget for it, beyond this date.
“The Federal Government which already commits 96 per cent of its revenue in servicing debt is not in any position to continue selling subsidised fuel, most of which is smuggled across our borders for criminal and obscenely unpatriotic profit.”
Onanuga said fuel subsidy no longer sustainable
Speaking further, Onanuga stressed that subsidy payment is no longer sustainable for the federal government owing to its dwindling resources.
He noted that, besides an N77 trillion debt, the federal government also have an N2.4 trillion obligation to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on past subsidies.
He said, “The Nigerian people and workers should support the government as it works out new wages and rolls out other interventions, as promised by President Tinubu, to mitigate the effects of the new fuel price.
“Let’s not make ourselves pawns in the hands of the politically biased and tainted NLC and TUC. Ajaero is no more a labour leader. He is a politician and leader of the Labour Party. He is no more representing all the Nigerian workers.”