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As public resentment continue to trail removal of fuel subsidy by the
federal government, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Monday
announced the composition of a committee of eminent Nigerians to
dialogue with leadership of the organized labour and civil societies group
who have already vowed to mobilize mass action against the controversial
Government had indicated that the contentious subsidy removal will be
implemented in April while consultations with stakeholders was still on,
but surprisingly announced through the Petroleum Products Pricing
Regulatory Agency, PPRA, on Sunday said its implementation would
commence on January 1.
The sudden change in the date of the implementation of the contentious
policy has however triggered wide resentment from various segments of
the polity, with Labour accusing the Jonathan administration of lying to
In an apparent last minute move to assuage frayed nerves, President
Jonathan on Monday constituted a high powered committee to dialogue
with Organized labour and civil societies groups.
The committee headed by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa
Belgore has as members, Chairman, Governors Forum and Rivers State
governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, his Edo State counterpart, Comrade Adams
Oshiomhole, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Governor Babangida
Aliyu of Niger State and Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State.
According to a statement signed by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to
President Jonathan on Media and Publicity, other members of the
committee include Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the
Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Petroleum Resources,
Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief
Emeka Wogu; the Special Adviser to the President on Inter Party Affairs,
Senator Ben Obi; and Mrs. Ngozi Olajemi.
The committee which tasks is to meet with organized labour and all other
stakeholders with a view to resolving issues that may arise from the
removal of the subsidy on petrol.
According to Abati, President Jonathan has directed the committee to
commence its assignment immediately.
Meanwhile security agents have commenced mass arrest of protesters
resenting the hike in fuel price. As at press time, several anti-subsidy
protesters and journalists have arrested by the police.
A former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Dino Melaye, two
youth leaders namely Martins Mbesekei Obono and Eze Nwagu among
others was arrested at the Eagles Square, Abuja while denouncing the
Following the harassment and arrest of some of its members by security
agents, the Abuja Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists has
condemned what it described as the growing intolerance of the President
Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Abuja Council Chairman, Comrade Jacob Edi, Chairman of Council in a
statement condemned the arrest of a journalist, Abdulwasiu Hassan of
Daily Trust Newspapers, and other Nigerians as they queued to put their
names on the anti subsidy removal register at Eagle Square Abuja.
According to Edi, the country was gradually descending into
totalitarianism which was a threat to democracy. The NUJ chairman said
there were major issues such as the Boko Haram insurgency and large
scale infrastructural decay that should engage the attention of the
Jonathan regime. He warned that past governments that have tried to
muzzle the people have failed and it would be no different with the present
quasi democratic one in place, while calling for the immediate release of
all those arrested.
Subsidy removal crisis: President Jonathan
raises Ctte to dialogue with NLC, others
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Tuesday, January 03 , 2012