Selective prosecution of subsidy thieves, a deceit —NLC….Punch

President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Abduwaheed Omar, has berated the Federal Government for shielding major oil subsidy thieves from prosecution.

He described the prosecution of “a few minor subsidy thieves” as a deceit, saying the Federal Government was only pretending to be fighting corruption.

Omar spoke in Ado Ekiti on Saturday during a visit to the state.

The NLC President, who said it was sad that those, who diverted the major part of the N1.3tn subsidy funds, were not in court, described the prosecution of the minor thieves as a “shoddy job”.

Omar said, “The labour is dissatisfied with the way the alleged looters were being prosecuted.  When you talk of punishment of these looters, we mean the major actors. Those, who took the larger chunk of the N1.3tn oil subsidy money. They have to be punished to show that Nigeria is a serious country.”

He also warned the FG to drop the proposed plan to remove subsidy, saying Nigerians would resist it.

Omar said, “It is lamentable that the government is contemplating an outright removal of oil subsidy at a time the economy is biting harder. Statistics have shown that of the N1.3tn the government claimed to have spent on oil subsidy in 2011, only N270bn was appropriated  with the rest going into the hands of major and minor oil thieves.

“The logical thing for the Federal Government to do is to block this leakage, so that government can have enough money to save and to sustain the subsidy. A sum of N270bn is not too much for government to spend on 150 million Nigerians yearly, so that they can live above poverty line.

“We demand to know the beneficiaries of the money that was spent by government to fund oil subsidy. We seek to know how much they illegally took to test the seriousness of government.”

Meanwhile, for calling on workers to embark on four-day strike, Osun State Government has accused the NLC leadership in the state of attempting to blackmail the government.

Addressing reporters in Osogbo, on Sunday, the state Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Mr. Akinyemi Olatunji, described the call for strike as an attempt to extort the government.

Also, the Vice-Chairman, Osun State Trade Union Congress, Mrs. Tola Nosegbe, and the Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Dr. Kehinde Ogungbangbe, dissociated their unions from the proposed strike.

Joint State Public Service Negotiating Council in the state, led by Mr. Bayo Adejumo, has called on workers to embark of a four-day strike starting from Tuesday (tomorrow).

Describing the planned strike as undemocratic and uncalled for, Olatunji said the Rauf Aregbesola administration had opened negotiations with various labour groups over salary increase.

Nosegbe said, “I am the Vice-Chairman of Osun TUC, I don’t know anything about the call to strike. The call is not motivated by altruistic motive.”

Ogungbangbe said, “NULGE is part of the NLC and not under the NLC. We must be duly consulted before our members are called to embark on strike. A few people cannot just sit down somewhere and call for a strike. What motivated the strike?”

JD:I must say one is slightly dissapointed at the disposition of the NLC in current affairs of our nation.One expects the NLC to be at the vanguard of the fight to insist on good governance and a better society for all,but alas what we find is an NLC that appears to have been compromised and this is sad.Where is the vibrancy of the likes of Pa Imoudu,Oshiomole,Kokori etc?With a lacklustre NLC,a feeble opposition and an absence of committed activists,this government is having a field day with its bad policies and insensitivity to the well being of nigerians.It is sad,very sad indeed.