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P. M. NEWS (Jan 17, 2002)

By Fidelis Njoku

A radio communicator Mike Uyi, has indicted Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the recent hike in prices of petroleum products, saying that the NLC leadership gave government the green light to do so.

The activist, who was speaking on a DBN Live debate on the fuel price increment and the on-going protest against the hike, argued that the Adams Oshiomhole leadership compromised during discussions with government's delegation on the issue. According to him, the NLC leadership allowed government to make a one digit increment which would have amounted to an increase of NI on all the petroleum products, but government cashed in on this to raise the prices to more than what was agreed.

"Had NLC not all allowed any increase during its discussions with government, it would not have had the guts to do what it did", he said.

For Uyi, NLC is only trying to save its face by embarking on strike after it realised its costly mistake. While the activist was not well disposed to the on-going strike declared by NLC, he advised its leadership to dialogue with government so as to find an amicable resolution to the impasse.

Other discussants in the debate however, differed from his views, saying that NLC is doing the right thing and should not be blamed for the face-off. They argued that government did not follow the due process in jerking up the prices of petroleum products, adding that it was a mark of irresponsibility and insensitivity on the part of the government to employ illegality in taking its action. This singular action of the government, they argued, shows clearly that the government of today is not only undemocratic but also irresponsible.

The activists accused state governors who supported the increment of selfishness. According to the them, governors would share the proceeds accruing from the increment with the central government. Both the activists and callers from parts of the state commended NLC, saying the government and their agents should be fought to a standstill in this matter in the interest of the suffering masses.

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