Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate may cut short its annual vacation to hold an emergency session to discuss the last Wednesday’s hike in pump price of petrol from N145.00 to N151.60 per litre by the federal government, THISDAY has learnt.
This is just as a ranking Senator, Obinna Ogba, emphasised that the recent increase in both fuel price and electricity tariff showed the level of insensitivity of the federal government to the people’s feelings.
It was gathered yesterday that many senators had approached the leadership of the upper chamber of the National Assembly on the need for the Senate to take a decision on the fuel price hike.
A senator confirmed to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity that representations had been made to the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, on the need to hold an emergency session to discuss the latest developments in the country, especially the hike in both the fuel price and electricity tariff. The ranking senator said: “Yes, it’s true that we have approached the leadership of the Senate about the possibility of holding an emergency session to look into the issues of fuel price hike and increase in electricity tariff from N22.00 to N66.00 per kilowatt.
“We are doing this based on reports from our constituents, who believe that the time is not ripe for such increase, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic period, and as their senators, we need to heed to their cries and act accordingly.”
When contacted on the issue, the Senate spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, said he could not confirm whether the emergency session will hold or not as he was out of Abuja for the All Progressives Congress (APC) assignment.
According to him, “I’m currently in Imo State for an APC assignment. I’m out of touch. I can’t confirm whether or not an emergency sitting will be called by the Senate since I’m not in town and not in touch.”
He, however, did not rule out the emergency session, saying: “The Senate president called me a while ago, but I’m not sure what he wanted to discuss with me. It may have been related to that. But I can’t tell.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Obinna Ogba, has said the increases in electricity tariff and fuel price at a time the economy was yet to recover from the deadly effects of COVID-19, showed that the government at the centre is highly insensitive.
According to him, “The country, and indeed the world, is facing serious problem right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, these increases are not good at all. It is like adding insult to injury.
“The government is just displaying insensitivity to the plights of Nigerians, because by increasing the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, the suffering of the people would become worse. It is not fair.
“You cannot put the blame on the agencies, because there is no way any of the agencies can increase the price of its commodity or service without first getting directive from the leadership of the country.”