The Labour Party expressed shock over what it termed Tinubu’s untimely removal of fuel subsidies.
Less than twenty-four hours after Tinubu assumed power, Nigerians awoke to find the pump price of petrol at N600 per litre and N750 per litre on the black market, with the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) urging Nigerians to brace themselves for more anti-people policies.
Obiora Ifoh, the National Publicity Secretary for the Abure-led NWC, made this statement available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
He stated that although the Labour Party had pledged to end the subsidy regime during its campaign, it would not have proceeded to proclaim the elimination by presidential fiat without devising a plan to mitigate the potential negative effects on the populace.
He stated, “As we speak, the lines have returned, and Nigerians, as was the case during the previous administration, will begin to maintain vigil at the gas station to obtain a few litres of gasoline.
“As anticipated, commercial transport companies across the nation have increased their travel fares in response to recent events. While product sellers are once again the apex of the food chain.
“This scenario brings to mind the story of a certain Pharaoh who, upon ascending to the throne, gave his task-masters the authority to treble the daily tasks of the Jews.
“What a way to announce one’s emergence as the town’s sheriff!” The purpose of President Tinubu’s first executive order was to inflict suffering on Nigerians.
“During the last election campaign, the Labour Party also proposed terminating the subsidy regime on the condition that the necessary policies and actions were in place.
“Tuesday’s removal of subsidy by presidential decree was not only startling, but also took virtually every Nigerian by surprise. We advise Nigerians to prepare for additional shocks and disruptions in the coming days.
“Therefore, the Labour Party condemns President Tinubu’s unilateral decision to remove the petroleum subsidy without consulting the stakeholders, in particular the labour unions, which has immediately exacerbated the plight of the Nigerian people.”
However, the party urged various unions, social activists, and Nigerians in general to “be vigilant and ensure that democracy is not undermined by any means or under any guise.”
Tuesday, however, a Tinubu Support group attempted to elucidate the President’s position on the contentious policy by stating that the subsidy had already been eliminated by the previous administration because the 2023 budget for fuel subsidies was only approved for the first half of the year.
“The public is advised to note that President Bola Tinubu’s declaration that “subsidy is gone” is neither a new development nor an action of his new administration,” the organisation explained.
“He was merely reporting the status quo, given that the previous administration’s budget for fuel subsidies was only authorised for the first six months of the year.
“This effectively implies that the federal government will be unable to continue the subsidy regime by the end of June, resulting in its termination. The frantic buying that has ensued as a result of the communication is unnecessary; its effects will not be immediate.”
Deji Elumoye, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Emmanuel Addeh, Emameh Gabriel, Udora Orizu in Abuja, Nume Ekeghe, Peter Uzoho and Kayode Tokede in Lagos