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‘Robbing the poor to feed the rich’, NLC slams N500b palliatives

THE Federal Government’s intention to give N500 billion in palliatives to Nigerians and government personnel to lessen the impact of eliminating the fuel subsidy was today denounced by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The NLC said that the Federal Government was “seeking to impoverish the people further by taking steps that can only be described as robbing the people of Nigeria to pay and feed the Rich” in a statement released today by its president, Joe Ajaero.

The Federal Government, according to the country’s top labor organization, “insisted on threading the path of dictatorship” rather than returning the goodwill of Nigerian workers.

“It is on this basis that the NLC strongly condemns the decision of the Tinubu-led administration to seek the approval of the National Assembly to obtain another tranche of external loans worth N500b from the World Bank to carry out a phantom palliative measure to cushion the effect of its poorly thought-out hike in the prices of Premium Motor Spirit,” it said.

The organisation in Nigeria recalled that the $800m already proposed before the government’s devaluation of the naira was worth about N400bn, but had risen to about N650bn post-devaluation.

“It is from this, it proposes to bring out N500b for distribution,” it added.

“The proposal to pay N8,000 to each of the so-called 12 million poorest Nigerian households for six months insults our collective intelligence and makes a mockery of our patience and abiding faith in social dialogue which the government may have alluded to albeit pretentiously.”

According to the NLC, the further proposal to pay National Assembly members the sum of N70bn and the judiciary N36bn is “the most insensitive, reckless and brazen diversion of our collective patrimony into the pockets of public officers whose sworn responsibility it is to protect our nation’s treasury”.

The labour body raised concerns that the move might amount to “hush money” and “outright bribery” of the other arms of government to “acquiesce the aberration”.

It decried the idea of a government that had foisted “so much hardship” on the people within nearly two months of assuming office making an “unconscionable” proposal that rewarded the rich in public office to the detriment of the poor.

“What this means all this while is that the government is seeking ways of robbing the very poor Nigerians so that the rich can become richer,” it added.

“There is no other way to explain the proposal to pay a misery sum of N8,000 Naira to each of the mysterious poorest 12 million Households for six months which amounts to N48,000 and pays just 469 National Legislators N70b or about N149m each while the Judiciary that has about 72 Appeal Court Judges, 33 National Industrial Court Judges, 75 Federal High Court Judges and 21 Supreme Court Judges and a total of about 201 Judges receive a total of N35b or N174m each.

“If these other two arms are projected to receive this, what members of the Executive Council will receive is better left to the imagination of Nigerians perhaps, the balance of N150b will go to them.”

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