Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) of engaging in ‘Advanced Fee Fraud’ over the removal of fuel subsidy and increment of pump price from N86.50 to N145 per litre.
Describing the increment as wickedness taken too far, he asked: “Was the federal government paying up to N58.50 as subsidy on one litre of petrol before now?”
Fayose, who reiterated his call on Nigerians, especially the labour movement, to resist what he called “this wicked act of President Buhari and his party,” added: “Those who opposed removal of fuel subsidy in 2012 and funded the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ protest must not be allowed to get away with this imposition of hardship on Nigerians now that they are in power.”
He said labour unions, civil society organisations and other well-meaning Nigerians should stand up and be counted at this crucial time in the life of the common people of Nigeria.
“There is no justification for the increment at this period when government is not paying salaries regularly, Nigerians are losing their jobs daily, prices of foodstuffs have gone over the roof and life has become so difficult for the common people. To labour Nigerians with this increment is wickedness taken too far,” he said.
In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said: “In 2012 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of President Goodluck Jonathan
removed fuel subsidy and increased petrol price to N141 per litre, crude oil was selling at $111 per barrel. How can petrol price be increased to N145 per litre when crude oil is now $40 per barrel?
“It is on record that on May 2 this year, the federal government, in the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) template released in Abuja, told Nigerians that it was subsidising petrol at N12.62 per litre.
“If as at May 2 petrol was being subsidised at N12.62 per litre, and now that the subsidy of N12.62 has been removed, what ought to have been added to the N86.50 pump price should be N12.62, which would have increased pump price to N99.12 per litre.
“Increasing petrol pump price by N58.50 when the federal government claimed it was subsidising the product at N12.62 per litre is clear political fraud aimed at further impoverishing Nigerians as the government will be making profit of N45.88 on each litre of petrol bought by Nigerians.”
Also, constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, condemned what he described as the unilateral decision of the federal government to increase the price of petrol, against a subsisting court order, saying it was an act of illegality, immorality and insensitivity.
Falana also blasted the federal ministry of power for increasing electricity tariffs in disobedience of a court order.
He argued that without any public debate or consultation with relevant stakeholders whatsoever the federal government took the Nigerian people by surprise by increasing the petrol price.
Falana recalled that not too long ago, the federal government had supported the imposition of higher tariffs paid on epileptic supply of electricity by consumers.
“In sentencing the Nigerian people to excruciating economic agony the Ministry of Power defied a court order which had restrained the government from giving effect to the proposed electricity tariff. In the same vein, the decision to increase the price of petrol is also illegal and contemptuous. In the case of Bamidele Aturu versus Attorney-General of the Federation, (unreported suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/591/2009) the Federal High Court declared illegal and unconstitutional the policy decision of the federal government to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry contrary to the combined effect of the provisions of the Price Control Act and the Petroleum Act,” Falana explained.
“In total defiance of the said order of the federal high court the federal government has deregulated the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. In justifying the illegal policy, Dr. Kachukwu claimed that “PPPRA has informed me that it will be announcing a new price band effective today, 11th May, 2016 and that the new price for PMS will not be above N145 per litre.”
Similarly, the national leadership of the Labour Party has expressed shock and displeasure over the increase in the price of petrol by the federal government.
In a statement signed by the National Chairman, Abdulkadir Abdulsalami, and National Secretary Julius Abure, the party stated: ‘’ After critically analyzing the issues involued, we have come to the inevitable conclusion that the new price for petrol is unwarranted, unnecessary and unacceptable especially at this time when our people are grasping with the harsh social economic conditions occasioned by poor leadership’’
The party hinted that this recent development has shown that President
Muhammadu Buhari has no new and innovative solutions to the plethora of challenges confronting Nigeria.