National Consultative Front

… Condemns scapegoating of workers over dwindling revenue caused by COVID-19

OBINNA EZUGWU

Nigeria’s emergent citizens’ movement, the National Consultative Front (NCFront) has said it is incensed and aghast over President Muhammadu Buhari government’s “inhuman ambush of Nigerians with an increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit, better known as petrol, decreed to take effect same Tuesday it was announced.”

The group which stated this in a statement on Wednesday by Dr. Tanko Yunusa, Head of its Public Affairs Bureau, noted that being a grassroot mass movement, it has observed the melancholic mood of Nigerians following reports that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Tuesday increased the ex-depot price of PMS from N138.62 per litre to N151.56 per litre.

“With the ex-depot price being the amount at which the product is sold to marketers at the depots, it is a no-brainer that this unconscionable hike by the Federal Government will translate to an increase in the pump price of petrol thus worsening the woes of Nigerians who have just been yoked with an increased electricity tariff amongst other devastating policies of government,” the statement reads.

“We utterly regret that the administration is carrying on as if its sole aim of seeking and acquiring another term of political power is to punish Nigerians for a supposed grouse that has remained unclear. Else, there’s no other reason as to why a government would so prey on hapless citizens still battling with untold hardship foisted by Covid 19 lockdown. However, it is now up to the Nigerians to join hands with NCFront Leaders of conscience in emancipating themselves from a ruling class that can neither guarantee their security nor care about their welfare.

“Some of the litany of woes visited on Nigerian citizens by the Buhari Government range from the serial increase in petroleum products since it came into power, jacking up of the Value Added Tax (VAT), introduction of stamp duties in all banking transactions, and the obnoxious, callous and unconscionable recent introduction of tax on all Tenancy and Lease Agreements.

“Nigerians, if nothing is done can expect more vindictive economic policies tailored towards ensuring that the citizenry is pauperised into docility and submission to the administration’s full-blown dictatorial proclivities. The recent punitive amount of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira only) for hate speech announced by the Minister for Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, was another building block in the construction of the edifice for despotic rulership by the Buhari regime.

“We believe that the impoverishment of citizens by the demobilising economic policies of the Buhari government is aimed at weakening Nigerians’ resolve to challenge the ruling political at elections by making them docile, malleable and submissive to the Buhari regime. Nigerians can wean themselves off their complacency and docility by joining NCFront to pull off a major Electoral Ballot Revolution that is underway.

“On the same score, the Front also condemns the various state governments’ transfer of the economic hardship brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to their already impoverished workforce, who we observe are being treated as scapegoats and made to bear the burden of state’s dwindling revenue occasioned by Covid 19 lockdown among others like reckless corruption and incompetence.

“We have noted that workers in some states were not only paid a miniscule fraction of their meagre salaries, but are now being sacked arbitrarily in flagrant disregard of labour rights so that government officials can continue to live extravagant lifestyle aided by pilfered public funds

“Given that the pay of Nigerian workers can barely take them home, it is wicked for those in authority to feed from the little they depend on for their survival as it is criminally to tamper with their rights under whatsoever guise. Therefore, If it is about reducing overhead cost, governors must leave workers salary alone and rather focus on their security votes and other funds being wasted on their coterie of do-nothing appointees.”