A group of Civil Society Organisations under the aegis of Coalition Of Patriots Against Agents Of Corruption (COPAAC) has taken a swipe at the Nigeria Labour Congress and its affiliate bodies over comments targeted at the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu.
COPAAC condemned calls by the labour unions on the minister to resign for what they termed, daring to reveal the truth.
According to the group which also declared their support for the minister at a press conference held in Abuja, the statement that it is cheaper to import refined petroleum than to refine locally, is a statement of fact based on the realities on ground.
Speaking on behalf of the group, its National President, Mr. Linus Ejilogo accused the unions of attempting to intimidate the minister. “They cannot now think that they can use the ploy of blackmailing Dr Kachikwu as the roundabout way of rehabilitating their credibility with the citizens.
They did not save us from the cabal then so they should not compound what is on ground”. He said. While also relating this current comment at the Minister to the fuel hike protests of 2012, which they accused the unions of using such for personal gains. ” Let us not forget how union leaders hijacked the Occupy Protests against fuel price hike in 2012 to negotiate juicy panel, committee and other appointments for themselves.
Once they got the appointments, countless people that died in the protests became mere statistics that translated into how much money the unionists could negotiate for themselves”. He said.
He said “the refineries in Nigeria cannot compete favourably in terms of production cost benefit compared to more modern refineries from where we get products abroad”. Adding that it is expected that these labour unions would have focused on discussing practical steps that could be taken to ensure that Nigerians get steady fuel supply pending when a solution like building new refineries can be implemented.
Furthermore, COPAAC said even as they have chided the labour unions, they are not in support of continuing to import refined petroleum products instead of producing locally, but appealed that the Minster of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu should be given time and supported by Nigerians to clean up the mess he met in the industry.