Human Rights Activiste, Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the President to prevent neo-liberal ideologues who wants to hijack his administration for the purpose of punishing the Nigerian people for the looting of the treasury and mismanagement of the national economy.
He said this in a statement released on Thursday in response to the new price regime for petrol announced by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.
Falana argued that the decision is illegal, immoral and insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian citizens.
“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.
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. Kachikwu 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.”
Since the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which is statutorily empowered to recommend the price of petroleum products has not been reconstituted the unilateral decision of the Executive Secretary of the body to fix the pump price at N145 per litre is ultra vires and illegal in every material particular. In view of the illegality, insensitivity and immorality of the price increase the federal government should cancel it, revert to the status quo and consult widely with all relevant stakeholders in the society.
If subsidy had been removed over a month ago and the country has been saving $2 billion (from fuel importation and subsidy removal) while the refineries are now working at full capacity Dr. Kachikwu should tell Nigerians the justification for the new removal of fuel subsidy announced by him yesterday. The cost elements that make up the N145 are provocative. If the total landing cost of a litre and other charges are fixed at N138 what is the basis of fixing the price at N145? For goodness sake, why should motorists be made to pay NPA/NIMASA charges, demurrage within and without /storage/ bridging charges etc?
At this stage President Buhari ought to prevent neo-liberal ideologues from hijacking the administration for the purpose of punishing the Nigerian people for the looting of the treasury and mismanagement of the national economy. Contrary to the position of the parasitic ruling class that prices of goods and services be fixed by market forces the federal government has a legal obligation to protect the people from exploitation,” he said.