Chris Steven, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians to disregard calls by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II to the federal government to devalue the nation’s currency and remove the petroleum subsidy.
The NLC in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday titled “Emir Sanusi II’s Anti People Campaigns Should Be Ignored” said that the revered Emir was expressing his private opinion and not speaking for the traditional institution or his emirate where industries have totally collapsed leaving the emirate with one of the highest population of victims of anti-people policies powered by neo liberal interests.
According to the statement signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Waba, the traditional institution should speak for and protect the poor; and must not be turned to outposts of neo liberal institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and their cohorts who imposed policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programme under which the naira was devastatingly devalued while production halted with the near total collapse of industries.
It argued that the eminence of his position as an Emir should not be rubbished with constant proclamations or campaigns for policies that have proven over the years as not only damaging to national economy but targeted against majority of people who flounder in abject poverty.
The labour body further stressed that as an import driven country, the effect of devaluing the naira is more on the quality of life of ordinary Nigerians who it argued bear the brunt of high cost of goods and services given the fact that the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar has gone record high from N154 to a dollar to over N225 to one dollar.
It lamented that the purchasing abilities of both industries and individuals has incredibly dwindled and may affect jobs in the long run.
NLC said it was fully supporting the stand of President Buhari on not removing fuel subsidy urging the President to ignore what it called reckless anti people outbursts of Emir Sanusi who it also advised should concentrate all his energy on policies and programmes that can reduce or eliminate poverty in his emirate by generating efforts to reindustrialise Kano.
“The statement clearly speaks only for international finance capital who are the direct beneficiaries of the pains of the poor in countries that have been unleashed with policies rammed down the throats of visionless and unpatriotic leaders blinded by the overbearing strengths and blackmails of the Breton Woods institutions. These institutions have added no value to our national economy as they have used previous Nigerian governments to decimate the lives of our people as they gaggled our national economy to doldrums.
In several countries, including Europe, citizens have reacted against the pains of these policies through mass protests while in some other countries these anti people policies ignited changes in government.
We strongly advise the Federal Government to ignore in its entirety, the reckless anti people outbursts of Emir Sanusi who we must also advise should concentrate all his energy on policies and programmes that can reduce or eliminate poverty in his emirate by generating efforts to reindustrialise Kano.
The issue of subsidy removal has been subject of public discourse for more than two decades and our position have not changed. We are not only opposed to it, we have provided written details of how the petroleum industry can be managed to the benefit of our collective interests.
The success of our strikes and mass protests against previous attempts to remove subsidy on petroleum products indicates mass rejection of the policy and we believe the Buhari government will not yield to pressure from those who insist on privatising our collective wealth by removing subsidy on petroleum products.
President Buhari has publicly said his government will not remove subsidy on petroleum products and we fully support his government on the clear commitment of the regime to serving the interests of majority of our people rather than submit to the pressure of unpatriotic few who have continuously diverted public funds to their private interests with so much latitude.
We are however ready to mobilise Nigerian people against any attempt to remove the subsidy should the government decide to yield to the pressure of people like Emir Sanusi who prefer to serve the interests of foreign institutions against the Nigerian people.
” It said