NLC berates APC, Buhari, el-Rufai over loss of four million jobs in 2017

Ayuba Wabba

• Only one private modular refinery operating in Niger Delta, says NUPENG
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari administration for the loss of four million jobs within one year (2017) despite government’s promises to create three million jobs annually.

Describing this as the lowest point in the nation’s history, President of NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, in his New Year message to Nigerian workers yesterday, said there was nothing to cheer in 2017 as the combination of the All Progressive Congress (APC), President Buhari and most of the governors performed abysmally below expectations of the Nigerian workers.

Specifically, the NLC described the sack of about 22,000 workers by Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai as the height of cruelty ever perpetrated by public official in Nigeria’s history.

The NLC submitted that rather than work to create jobs and improve the condition of Nigerian working people and Nigerians in general, leading elements in the ruling APC government has been taking measures to further chastise and ruin Nigerians by throwing tens of thousands of workers into the already saturated unemployment market and wretchedness.

NLC also lambasted the Kogi, Osun, Bayelsa and Ekiti states governments for failing to pay salaries and pensions of workers despite receiving three tranches of the Paris Club debt refund.

The NLC Chief said the conditions created under the current government render the Nigerian workers and pensioners the most despondent group in an economy that even the wealthy are groaning and struggling to survive.

Meanwhile, the ruling party has enjoined Nigerians to collectively look to year 2018 with renewed optimism and vigour.

In a New Year massage yesterday, the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was optimistic that brighter days are ahead in 2018.

While he appreciated Nigerians their continuous support and prayers for the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and indeed the party, Odigie-Oyegun said indeed, the collective task before us is converting our country’s potential – derived from size, demography, human, and natural resources – to greatness. While the task may seem onerous, it is achievable.

But the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) doubted claims by the Federal Government that 10 modular refineries are on the verge of completion in the Niger Delta.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, the National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, said only one modular refinery is currently operating in the Niger Delta and that the union is unaware of any other modular refineries that are close to completion.

He said: “NUPENG is not aware of any refinery nearing completion at all. The only one I know that currently operates is called Niger Delta Modular Refinery and it refines only diesel of about 10,000 barrels per day. I also know that SPDC is the major off-taker of the refined product while the remaining are sold to the public.”

Also, the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group said most of the stakeholders in region are not aware of the existence of the purported 10 modular refineries.

The Executive Director of the group, Dr George-Hill Anthony, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday said, “The group is not aware of the existence of the modular refinery in the Niger Delta.”

But the governor of Imo State, Mr Rochas Okorocha expressed optimism that 2018 would bring exciting progress to Nigerians.

In his New Year message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor urged that Nigerians should be hopeful of light at the end of the tunnel.

However, one of the newly registered political parties, Providence People’s Congress (PPC) yesterday called on Nigerians to start looking for an alternative to the ruling APC and the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the country moves towards another election year.

Addressing a press conference in Lagos yesterday, National Legal Adviser of the party, Mr. Richard Kelani flayed the ruling party for failing to move the country out of the present economic doldrums almost three years.

He said there was nothing different between the APC and the PDP “therefore it would amount to share waste to continue to entrust the destiny of this country into the hands of those who have no vision for its citizens.”

PPC condemned the economic policy and the anti-graft war of the Buhari’s government, saying, “It only mouthed anti-corruption war but graft it sitting and dinning with it.”

He called on Nigerians to look out for the alternative and the egalitarian society PPC determines to build if giving the chance as Nigeria enters into the preparatory years for the 2019 general elections.

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