Plan by the federal and state governments to sell national assets, including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, has elicited reactions from human rights groups and labour unions.
Labour groups, including the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, said that its members would embark on a strike to resist the planned sale of the assets.
Also, aviation unions stated that the plan to sell the country’s airports should be reviewed as a complete sale of the entire facilities would spell doom for Nigeria.
The National Economic Council, comprising the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and 36 state governors, on Thursday, endorsed the plan by the Federal Government to sell some national assets as part of efforts to address the current economic recession in the country.
But workers under the aegis of PENGASSAN recalled that the sale of previous national assets such as the Power Holding Company of Nigeria did not yield meaningful result and wondered if the sale of other assets would be beneficial to Nigerians.
The Public Relations Officer, PENGASSAN, Mr. Emmanuel Ojugbana, told one of our correspondents on Friday that the union’s officials had started consulting over the matter.
He said, “We are getting our full statement on this issue ready and by Monday, PENGASSAN shall make its position clear.”
The President, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, Mr. Igwe Achese, had on Thursday called on the Federal Government to ignore the advice to sell off the country’s assets, urging the government to encourage foreign and local investors to set up new refineries.
He reiterated that the economy could be revived through short-term, medium-term and long-term economic measures to ameliorate poverty and the sufferings of Nigerians.
NLC unveils actions against FG’s plan on Monday
The Nigeria Labour Congress said it would unfold its action plan against the move to sell the national assets.
The NLC’s General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said the congress would formally explain its position on the planned sale of the national assets in a press conference on Monday.
He said, “We have issued a formal statement to reject the whole process, we issued that yesterday. We will address a press conference next week on this matter. We are going to address a press conference on this matter, in the afternoon on Monday.”
It was learnt that the decision by the Federal Government to sell the national assets would feature prominently in the deliberation of the NLC-Academic Staff Union of Universities Think Tank on Socio- Economic Issues that will be inaugurated on Monday.
The President, Campaign for Democracy, Abdul Usman, said the planned sale of the national assets did not surprise him.
He said, “If the National Economic Council is approving the sale of national assets and Nigerians are not ready to say no to this evil plan, the next generation will face the music of suffering this collateral damage.”
The Executive Secretary, Anti-Corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin, described the planned sale of the national assets as criminal.
Speaking also on the issue, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Bala Kaigama, said the congress was waiting to know which among the assets the government was planning to sell.
On his part, the General-Secretary, Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association, Mr. Olawode Adebanji, told one of our correspondents that although the details on how the government intended to sell the airports had yet to be published, it would be disastrous to sell the entire systems at the facilities.
He said some arms of the aviation sector also contributed to national security and that selling such segments of the sector to private entities would not be in the interest of Nigeria.
Adebanji said, “Is it the airspace that you are privatising? Is it the buildings or the services? We still don’t have a clear picture. In the privatisation of the PHCN, the government still has control and it is holding on to transmission. So we think the same thing should be done here in the aviation sector.”
The National President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Mr. Isaac Balami, stated that the reason workers in the aviation sector were kicking against the sale of the country’s airports was because such exercise had not been transparently done in the past.
He said, “We don’t have control over the decision of the NEC, but all we ask is that there should be transparency.”