Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Civil Society Organisatios (CSOs) have kicked against the increase in the price of fuel to N151 per liter and electricity tariff to N66 per kwh.
PDP said the move is “callous, cruel, and punishing” while demanding an immediate reversal of the prices to avert a national crisis, as the increase will result in an upsurge in costs of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians, who are “already impoverished and overburdened by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-imposed high cost of living in the last five years.”
Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja said by increasing the price of fuel from the N87 per litre it sold under the PDP to an excruciating N151 while at the same time allowing the hike in electricity tariff from N30.23 per kwh to over N66, the APC has left no one in doubt that its agenda is to inflict pain and hardship on Nigerians to satisfy their selfish interests.
Ologbondiyan stated that the unjustifiable increase in the price of these essential supplies, coming barely a week after the APC brazenly posted support for a fuel price hike, while attempting to rationalize the excruciating hardship being suffered by Nigerians under the Buhari administration, has further confirmed that the APC is at the center of the harsh policies of the Buhari Presidency.
He said: “It is distressing that the APC administration increased the cost of essential commodities at the time the leadership of other countries is offering palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is instructive to add that our nation is doomed under the APC watch.
“We know that the APC is an unfeeling party but it is indeed shocking that it could go to the extent of approving such a hike at this trying time when many Nigerians are struggling to afford staple foods and other necessities of life.
“Our party challenges the APC and the Buhari administration to publish the parameters with which it arrived at the increase of fuel price to N151 per liter given that with the prevailing values in the international market, the appropriate price template for domestic pump price in Nigeria ought not to be above N100 per liter.
“Our party further challenges the APC-led Federal Government to publish details of its sleazy and over-bloated oil subsidy regime, including the involvement of APC interests in the claimed under-recovery for unnamed West African countries, running into trillions of naira, while Nigerians are made to bear the burden of high fuel costs.
“Moreover, the APC and its government have failed to allow an open investigation into allegations of fuel price overcharge as well as the fraudulent subsidy regime through which over N14 trillion had allegedly been frittered by unscrupulous individuals in the APC.
“Our fear is that the APC is pushing Nigerians to the wall with its obnoxious and anti-people proclivities and we caution that nobody should misinterpret the peaceful and law-abiding nature of Nigerians as a sign of weakness.”
The PDP Spokesman called on the National Assembly to save the nation by calling the APC and its administration to order before they plunge the nation into chaos.
Cajole your cronies to return stolen fuel subsidy loot, APC replies PDP
As a counterpoise, the APC has asked the PDP to persuade its cronies to return the money they stole from fuel subsidy while the party ruled the country.
The ruling party said successive PDP governments had foisted on the country a corruption-tainted fuel subsidy regime, and call on the opposition to cajole its cronies who ran the subsidy rackets, many of them in hiding abroad to return the stolen commonwealth in their possession.
APC in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena said under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the tortuous fuel queues as a result of biting scarcities are gone.
He noted that the reviewed petroleum products pricing template has resulted in a more transparent, efficient, and realistic pricing system for petroleum products and also resulted in a constant availability of fuel nationwide.
According to APC Spokesman, the pricing template now reflects competitive and market-driven components that are supported by the citizenry.
Nabena said: “In an effort by this administration to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity, President Buhari recently directed a nationwide mass metering programme for electricity consumers in the country.
“For the PDP that is only concerned with pushing the interests of its few cronies over the general interest and welfare of the citizenry, we don’t expect the PDP to grasp the import of this landmark presidential directive which aside improving electricity and service delivery, is also protecting the poor and vulnerable Nigerians from increased electricity tariff and arbitrary/estimated billings.
“The federal government is already working to ensure that Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) commit to increasing the number of hours of electricity supply every day and also improve on their quality of service.
“Perhaps the PDP is also unaware, that the current administration has approved a one-year waiver of import levy on electricity meters so that Nigerians who do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at a reasonable cost.
“The APC calls on the PDP to wake up to the new Nigeria where the government works for the citizens, not a few interests”.
It is adding salt to injury, labour fumes, berate FG
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has described the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, as shocking.
Wabba who reacted to the latest increase said: “In fact, Nigerians and even NLC we are at a shock, and this increase is coming at a time when many Nigerians are passing through very peculiar and precarious times.
“It’s like Nigerian are being taken for a ride, the increase in the price of petroleum is like adding insult to injury.
“The increase in price of petroleum has happened now more than three times in three months, only yesterday they hiked the tariff of electricity. And to compound it, they also reduced the interest rate of savings which affects mostly the poor and the vulnerable.
“While rejecting this with the strongest terms, I think the Nigerian government is taking Nigerians for granted.
CSOs kick, call for immediate suspension
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, said, “The decision is wicked. This is not the right time to increase petrol pump price because it will lead to high prices of goods and services.
“The government should stop this price increase immediately and be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians. They are to be considerate and not to overburden the people with unnecessary increase of pump price.
“Countries are working hard to reduce suffering of their citizens with infrastructure and palliatives while our government is not looking at that direction. This is seriously unfair and unacceptable.”
The Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “I don’t understand what this government is up to and don’t believe that all the steps it has taken in recent times they are not for the interest of Nigerian people. Nigerian people have been traumatized with deliberate policies.
“I don’t know what they want Nigerians to benefit. Their policies are directed and targeted to pauperize Nigerians. I want to be sure what the government is up to. We will speak to other organizations and plan on how we will reply the government on what they have done. The government should suspend this price increase now.”
The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said, “Clearly, this order by the government to increase prices of petroleum and electricity affirms is unfortunate and disappointing. It’s indicative of a government that cares less about the welfare of its people.
“This anti-welfarist policy should be rejected. When will government subsidize for its people. Nigerians are still grappling with the harsh impact of the Coronavirus virus pandemic and is imposing increased tariff? “If government cuts down its expenditure, abolish security votes and block leakages in the system it can generate a great amount of the resources required to fund our development. The people must not always pay.”