The Nigeria Governors’Forum (NGF) says whatever action to be taken on subsidy removal must directly benefits the people, and not just a few wealthy individuals and their cronies.
The forum Chairman and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State stated this when he meet with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC ) in Abuja.
Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, Head, Media and Public Affairs, NGF said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, saying that the meeting with NLC leadership led by its president Comrade Ayuba Waba, deliberated on the fuel subsidy removal was sequel to NGF meeting of Jan.19 in Abuja.
He quoted Fayemi saying at the meeting, that the nation’s economy was at the precipice and that it had became necessary for the NGF and organised the labour labour to verify the claim on fuel subsidy by the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC).
“Fayemi said that subsidy removal has remained an on-going conversation not just among governors but the entire country, hence the governors must be part of the solution providers.
“This is because there are raging questions of accountability associated with the issue subsidy removal in the country,” he said
He said that both the NGF and the NLC could jointly work together to proffer solutions that would heal the economy and provide succour to the Nigerian people.
“Nigerian governors can not ignore the economics of petroleum, this is because all the countries surrounding Nigeria including Niger, Mali, Cameroun and Ghana have their fuel pump price that is equivalent to a U. S dollar, while Nigeria has a pump price that is far less than a dollar.
“We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about, because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting
“We can only move forward if the NLC engages all those who are knowledgeable in the field like PENGASSAN to conduct a thorough research into the sector before any further action is taken on subsidy,” Fayemi said.
He stated that only about eight states were benefitting directly from the subsidy while all the others had to contend with the situation on their own.
The governor insisted that the partnership with the NLC must confront the perennial issue of palliatives for the common man towards cushioning the effects of subsidy removal on the citizenry.
“Not tackling the problem now is tantamount to postponing the evil day. Finding succour for the ordinary Nigerian at this time is absolutely imperative and necessary now more than ever,” Fayemi said.
He, however, plead with labour to jettison the decision to embark on nationwide protest and join hands with governors to consider the dimensions at play on the subsidy removal.
He said that the governors through their internal mechanisms had already discovered that what was being paid was higher than what was actually being declared by the country’s petroleum industry managers.
Also Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo cautioned that Nigeria had a choice of continuing to behave like Santa Claus or take concrete actions, rather than throwing away N3 trillion on subsidy.
Obaseki suggested that the nation could in the interim, increase productivity to reduce imports and create jobs.
He also emphasised that the country would do well to revamp the power sector, without which Nigeria would continue to throw millions of its citizens into unemployment, and ultimately, poverty.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, who joined the meeting virtually, stated that the two groups must find options and create opportunities to address the hardships that stare the people on the face.
Lalong who said that the forum had been on the matter for three years, added that the painstaking work that led to the solutions that the NGF highlighted took a year to script together .
He said to that the two groups should immediately set out to work to find the light at the end of the tunnel.(NAN)