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Petrol price hike insensitive, PDP, LP tell APC, Presidency

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Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
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FOLLOWING the increment in the pump price of petrol from N488 to between N568 and N617 per litre, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Labour Party, LP, yesterday, rejected the hike, describing it as an act of provocation by the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration against Nigerians.

While the PDP accused the APC of extreme insensitivity and callousness towards Nigerians, the LP, on its part, said it was just the beginning of hard times Nigerians will be facing under the current administration.

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Also, human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, yesterday, insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, should be restrained from further fixing the prices of petroleum products in the country.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, also yesterday, resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to look into the incessant increase in fuel prices.

APC provoking Nigerians with fuel price hike- PDP

Faulting the recent hike in petrol price, PDP accused the ruling party of extreme insensitivity and callousness towards Nigerians.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Debo Ologunagba, insisted that the new subsidy regime, which enjoyed the endorsement of the APC-led administration, was worsening an already dire economic situation.

Ologunagba, in a statement, said: “The party cautions that the increase is worsening the already suffocating economic situation under the APC and has the capability of triggering a very serious crisis in the country if not abated.

“It is appalling that instead of seeking ways to stabilize and grow the economy, the APC administration has abandoned the welfare of Nigerians which is the primary purpose of Government under Section 14 (2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and left the citizens to the vagaries of market forces and an exploitative cabal; a disposition that is characteristic of a government that is not accountable to the people.

“The PDP is alarmed that with its ill-thought out, badly planned and hurriedly-executed policies, the APC is running Nigeria’s economy aground with the value of naira rapidly plummeting, businesses and production shutting down; citizens losing their means of livelihood, commercial and social activities crippled, with millions of families no longer able to afford their daily needs as the costs of food, medication and other essential goods and services continue to skyrocket.
“The present dire situation comes as a consequence of APC’s insensitivity, seething corruption, scandalous cluelessness and lack of capacity to effectively steady and manage the nation’s economy.

“Indeed, this is not the nation that Nigerians yearned for after the abysmal, harrowing and inhuman eight years of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration as the situation has currently gone from a frightening bad to a terrifying worse with no hope in sight.

“The PDP dismisses APC’s insensitive and lame argument of market forces and comparison of the price of fuel in Nigeria with those of other countries which have functional infrastructure, variety of affordable alternative transportation system and sources of energy; strong currency and where citizens earn far higher than what obtains in Nigeria.

“Our Party insists that the N617 per litre of fuel is excessive, unacceptable and cannot be justified under any guise. This is especially given the economic potential and prospects within our country.’’

Brace up for tougher times — LP

On its part, Labour Party noted that the latest adjustment in the pump price of petroleum products is just the beginning of the hard times Nigerians will be facing under the APC-led government.

The party recalled how it earlier cautioned Nigerians against believing the dummy being sold to them by the APC administration about the withdrawal of fuel subsidy, saying the ruling party had no plan in place to ameliorate their sufferings.

LP, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, said: “The Labour Party had earlier warned that the bourgeoisie government in place can only enrich the upper class and inflict penury on the proletariat.

“You offer a paltry N8,000 to a family of five and extract all they have laboured for through obnoxious policies.

“Nigerians do not deserve what they are getting from the present government. The Labour Party condemns the attitude of the government to its people. This is even coming at a time the Nigerian currency has continued to devalue under the watch of this government.

“We are however optimistic that Nigeria will overcome the Taskmaster of our time. We will soon witness the Promised Land.”

PDP, LP also promised to remove subsidy —APC

Although the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, did not respond to media inquiries, a director in the party, who did not want his name published because he had no clearance to speak with the media, said; “I do not think this is an issue we have to respond to. PDP promised to remove fuel subsidy as well during the campaigns.”

Our position on fuel subsidy stands—Presidency official

Efforts to get the Special Adviser to President Tinubu on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, to react to the PDP and LP proved abortive but a presidency official who spoke on the conditio

n of anonymity, said the Presidency maintains its position on fuel subsidy removal.
The Presidency official said: “We can’t be reacting to everything the PDP and LP say. Let them say whatever they want to say, we have already maintained our position. If they want to be reacting to everything, that is their problem. When we have things to say, we will say it.”

Reps reject call for suspension of new price of N617
Also yesterday, the House of Representatives resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to look into the incessant increase in fuel prices.

The resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance, titled ‘The need to investigate the incessant increase in fuel pump price’, moved by Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere at plenary.

However, an amendment moved by another lawmaker, urged the House to direct the NNPCL to suspend the new pump price of N617 and revert to the old price of N540 was put to vote by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Benjamin Kalu, lawmakers unanimously rejected the amendment, shouting ‘NAY’.

To investigate incessant hikes in fuel price

Speaking on the amendment, Kalu, who presided over plenary, said the amendment will not be taken because they would not want to pre-empt what the ad hoc committee’s investigation would be.

Moving the motion, Ugochinyere noted that the incessant hike in fuel prices had, in turn, caused hardship for Nigerians.

According to him, the high cost of transportation will, in the coming days, lead to a hike in food prices in the market.

The lawmaker said: “Mr Speaker, this is the peoples’ House and we represent the Nigeria people, very soon with the way things are going, fuel will be sold for N1,000 per litre.”
He, however, urged the House to set up an ad hoc committee to summon the Group Managing Director of the NNPCL to look into the increase in fuel price. The motion was, therefore, carried when put to a voice vote.

NNPCL lacks power to fix price of petrol — Falana
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, ASCAB, Mr Femi Falana, yesterday, insisted that NNPCL lacks the power to fix prices of petroleum products in any part of Nigeria.

Falana also noted that having liberalised the NNPCL, the company should be restrained from further fixing the prices of petroleum products in the country. The legal luminary, in a statement, said: “In his inauguration address delivered on May 29, 2023, President Bola Tinubu announced that his administration will govern the country under the rule of law.

“The commitment implies that the actions of the Government and its agencies will be carried out under the law. The people of Nigeria were taken aback yesterday when the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited increased the pump price of petrol from N500 to N617.

“After increasing the price, the NNPCL turned round to claim that it was fixed by market forces. It is submitted that the increase of the pump price of petrol by the NNPCL is an affront to the rule of law on the ground that it is illegal in every material in particular.

“In Bamidele Aturu v Minister of Petroleum Resources (Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/591/2009), Plaintiff challenged the plan of the Federal Government to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry and allow market forces to determine the prices of petroleum products.

“In a landmark judgment delivered on March 19, 2013, the Federal High Court, presided over by Adamu Bello J. (as he then was) held that by the combined effect of the Petroleum Act, Price Control Act and the Constitution, the Federal Government ‘must always fix the price of petroleum products sold across Nigeria.’

“Specifically, the reliefs granted by Federal High Court include the following: “A declaration that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in vicious violation of the mandatory provision of section 6 of the Petroleum Act, cap P.10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in flagrant violation of the mandatory provision of section 4 of the Price Control Act, cap P28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.’’

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