Oshiomhole charges NLC on oil theft
EDO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole Wednesday implored the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to query the Federal Government on how hundreds of barrels of crude oil are allegedly being stolen on a daily basis without check.
The governor, who spoke at the groundbreaking of the Labour House in Benin City where he said Nigeria was being run in a directionless manner and the Labour movement must show more interest in the national discourse so that the ship of state could be steered in the right direction, said: “Issues of the management of the treasury and oil theft are not the preserve of the political class. Oil is being stolen. Nigeria has a capacity for 2.5 million barrels a day. We have oil performing on an average of $108 per barrel over the past few years and it has hovered on that average. Sometime, it went to $111, but at a time it dropped to $106 per barrel.
“Oil performance has been stable and we budget at $98, with the difference over a period of three years, we ought to have huge reserves now so that when occasion like this comes, we will live as if there is no fluctuation.
“I think the NLC needs to show more interest in this politics of oil theft. Who are the people stealing this oil. Since when? What has changed about the territorial boundaries of Nigeria? In good times, we were told this thing is being stolen and in bad times, we are told to fasten our belt. I feel strongly about those things. We have always been hearing about illegal bunkering, but we have never heard of this level of massive oil theft.
“Someone has a duty to explain that and NLC has a duty to ask. In Edo, we are clear, we are deepening our taxes and we need the NLC to support us. The state had been held hostage by few unaccountable godfathers in the name of politics, which people can see. Government property was sold for as low as N1million in GRA land with house on it.”
The governor further explained: “I need you to understand that the struggle we have been waging, we need to sustain it, not for my good but for the good of the state. We cannot have a country where people just feast on others and they think it is their birth-right to continue to feast.
“I offered to build this house for the Labour movement in Edo State because no man is free if he does not live in his own house. I believe it is more valid for a trade union movement because of the kind of work they do.
“You hire a house and it turns out that house belongs to a politician whose party is government and you are issuing ultimatum against that party. The first thing they will do is to ask you to vacate the property. I believe that God has a purpose that at this time of our history, he chooses to make me the governor of this state against all odds.”
On his part, the National President of the NLC, Abdulwaheed Omar who was represented by the Deputy President, Mr. Sidi Mohammed, said the governor has done the NLC proud as former president and as Governor of Edo State.
“We cannot forget the sacrifices you made in the Labour movement. And for those who accuse you today, they should have known that without the Labour, there would not have been democracy today. You led us in the struggle, we slept in the bush, we were beaten and today they are reaping what we built yet they call us names”, he said.
Earlier, the National President of the TUC, Bobbol Kaigama, expressed delight that trade union movement has opened the year 2015 on a progressive note, stressing that the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of twin-buildings as state secretariat for the councils was laudable.
He said: “For now, we commend your foresight in charting a progressive people-oriented course for comrades involved in politics. Indeed, yours has been a success story worthy of emulation.”