The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday accused oil marketers of sabotaging supply and distribution of petroleum products to promote privatisation of the downstream sector of oil and gas.
NLC gave the management of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company till Monday to recall 400 sacked workers or have its facilities shut down by organised labour and its civil society allies.
In separate statements by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the union said despite the parlous state of the refineries, they remain one of the best in the world and can be upgraded.
Wabba said the refineries needed an effective turnaround maintenance.
He added that the refineries were abandoned to ensure Nigerians were ambushed by proponents of privatisation.
The labour leader said those advocating sale of the refineries were waiting to buy them because they know the refineries are one of the best.
The statement reads: “We believe the recurrent scarcity of petroleum products is part of the roadmap designed by forces wishing to hoodwink us into accepting privatisation of the refineries.
“We are disturbed by the recurring scarcity of petroleum products, especially the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, which has caused long queues at some fuel stations while many more have closed, claiming non-availability of the product.
“Nigerians are yet to be told what the cause of the scarcity is. We, however, believe government will not allow any individual or corporate organisations to sabotage its good intentions, as it is obvious the scarcity is a calculated design by petroleum marketers to sell the products at high prices for more profits.
“Petroleum products, especially petrol, is key to our economy, as it is what powers commuters, including workers, offices and businesses. The delays motorists contend with at petrol stations have led to loss of man hours, which have impacted negatively on our economy.
“We, therefore, call on government to intervene by sending out appropriate agencies, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), to enforce sale of the products as some marketers have reportedly been hoarding the products.
“We restate our call for the speedy reactivation of local production of petroleum products as the country will continue to be held hostage by global economic manipulations, if we remain tied to importation of petroleum products even when we have the resources to produce for local consumption and export.’’
The congress frowned at the decision of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company to terminate 400 workers without due process.
NLC president said the union would not condone such action, especially considering the fact that the decision was taken without justification.