WEEK BRIEF: Tinubu Presidency, fuel subsidy saga and NLC war drum

On May 29, Bola Ahmed Tinubu became the 16th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was sworn in as President of Nigeria by the Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola at 10:41 AM (WAT) at an inauguration ceremony held in Eagle Square in Abuja.

President Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State and nominee of the All Progressives Congress won the disputed election with 36.61% of the vote, 8,794,726 total votes.

Runners-up were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party, and former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi, Labour Party, who both immediately contested the result; Obi claimed he won.

In the wake of his swearing-in hours after, Tinubu announced the abolition of the fuel subsidy regime on Monday. The country has been in a state of turmoil as citizens grapple with the astronomical hike in the price of petroleum products and its attendant consequences.

Petroleum subsidy is a federal government intervention aimed at providing direct financial assistance to oil marketing companies and, by extension, lowering the price of the product for consumers.

The Nigerian government implemented the fuel subsidy regime in October 2000 in order to make the product more affordable to citizens while also stimulating economic growth.

However, in recent years, the fuel subsidy has become a contentious national issue, with stakeholders alleging that it is riddled with corruption and has become a racket for those in the oil marketing business to fleece the state. The fact that the subsidy consumed a large portion of national funds, to the tune of N400 billion per month, made its sustainability untenable.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has adjusted the pump prices of premium motor spirit (PMS) also known as petrol across its retail outlets, the company said in a release.

According to the statement signed by Garba Deen Muhammad, chief corporate communications officer of
NNPC Ltd, this was done in line with current market realities.

In Lagos where NNPCL now retails fuel at N488 a litre at its station on Kingsway Ikoyi while the NNPC Mega Station, Lagos Bus Stop, at Port Harcourt today sells for N511 per litre and Abuja at N537 per litre.

Although, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, on Thursday, allayed the fear of Nigerians on the rising prices of Premium Motor Spirit, known better as petrol across the country. The NNPC boss said competition among major players in the oil sector would force down the price of petrol as against the upward trends that have caused panic in the country.

Dangote, PH refineries, others won’t change fuel price – NNPCL

Mele Kyari, the NNPCL said the local production of Premium Motor Spirit by Dangote Refinery, Port Harcourt Refining Company and others in Nigeria is not going to change the pump price of the commodity.

Kyari declared that despite the volume of petrol being expected from these facilities, the cost of the commodity would not reduce, regardless of the fact that the product was produced locally.

“There is a notion that if the product is processed locally, prices will reduce. Let me make it clear that it is not going to change anything. If you produce locally, the refineries will also input the cost of production and other things and it will be sold at the current price.

“There will also be no subsidy when local production starts because there is no cash-to-back subsidy, this country no longer has the resources to continue with subsidy,” Kyari stated.

NLC declare strike

However, the Nigeria Labour Congress said it will embark on a nationwide strike on Wednesday if NNPCL fails to reverse the new pump price for the Premium Motor Spirit.

It was reported that the NLC has written all its 43 affiliate unions to mobilise for a scheduled industrial action primed to begin on Wednesday.

Some of the affiliates of the NLC include – the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives among others.

Meanwhile, Many have criticized NLC for declaring industrial action against subsidy removal.

The apex umbrella body of all Yoruba indigenous people, Yoruba Council Worldwide, YCW, has described the bid to embark on strike action by, NLC, over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government as an act of economic sabotage.


Meanwhile, Tinubu had vowed that there was no going back on fuel subsidy removal saying no amount of strike will stop him.

Tinubu, who stated this while speaking last year at the business luncheon with business owners titled: “Business Forward”, hinted that, no matter how long people protest, it would not stop him from removing fuel subsidy.

Tinubu in a statement by his Media Office, signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, insisted that Nigeria would not continue to subsidise fuel consumption in neighbouring countries.

“How can we be subsidising fuel consumption of Cameroon, of Niger, of Benin Republic. No matter how long you protest, we are going to remove subsidy,” he said.