Petroleum marketers move to infiltrate labour over subsidy

Emmanuel Aziken

05 January 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – A plot by fifth columnists in the business community to take advantage of the planned strike by Nigeria’s organised labour has been uncovered.

Agents of petroleum marketers, who are beneficiaries of the controversial subsidy, it was learnt Wednesday, were making moves to instigate the leadership of the National Assembly to reconvene with the aim of reversing the subsidy removal.

There are also allegations that the marketers plan to fund labour on its planned confrontation wioth the government. Labour was quiet on the development, Wednesday. But, a ranking Senator said the persuasion of the marketers was a double-edged sword for the larger society.

Meetings, consultations
There were insinuations of a meeting in Abuja between some representatives of the marketers and some members of the National Assembly with the aim of instigating the legislators to scuttle the controversial decision on subsidy.

One security source disclosed that operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were privy to the meeting and have tipped-off the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to do a close monitoring of those involved with the purpose of tracking the funds being used to sponsor the project.

Insider talks
One Senator said: “The marketers are involved in this because they do round-tripping. Whether or not they remove fuel subsidy, it is wahala.

“They want to penetrate National Assembly. They are eager to make us to resume session. So they are going round. They do not want the subsidy to be removed. Recall what Sanusi Lamido said: ‘Fuel importation is what any foolish person will do and become a billionaire’.”

The marketers were said to be working with some dissident union officials under the guise of supporting the popular agitation against the removal of fuel subsidy.

A security source said, Wednesday, that marketers had budgeted as much as one billion naira for the covert operation to mobilise opinion against the government on the issue.

The source said: “We are probing some marketers for taking undue advantage of issues raised by labour to cause mayhem nationwide.

“Security agencies have identified six of the marketers, who are the arrowheads of this covert plot.

What subsidy removal costs marketers
“These marketers are unhappy because the removal of subsidy will put an end to cooking of records to get refund from government and diversion of subsidised import to neighbouring African countries where they triple profit.

“They are also angry that it will no longer be business as usual. Unfortunately, they have made labour leaders to believe that they are backing Nigerian workers for a just cause.”

Efforts to get a reaction from Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Acting Secretary-General, Mr. Owei Lakemfa, on the development were unsuccessful as he did not respond to a text message sent to him.

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