Outrage Over Proposed N150 Fuel Price


Nigerians are expressing outrage over plans by President Goodluck Jonathan to increase the price of petroleum to N150 per litres and vowed to resist the move.

The Jonathan-Federal Government led at the centre has announced its intention to remove the fuel subsidy and jack up the price of fuel from N65 to N150 per litre.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, have vowed to stage a protest on Thursday to kick against the planned hike in the prices of petroleum products.

Reacting to the proposed move to hike fuel price, Lagos House of Representatives member, representing Kosofe Constituency, Hon. Dayo Bush-Alebiosu, described the move by Jonathan as madness, saying that since the government of Jonathan was voted in by the people, he ought not to have resorted to unleashing such cruelty on the people by increasing fuel prices.

“Look at how they want to change things. They first came up with the 6-years single term issue and now they want to scrap the fuel subsidy with the excuse that the subsidy was not getting to the people it was meant for.

“If the fuel subsidy put in place is not getting to the people, whose fault is it? Such should be treated as criminal. I feel very bad about this; it is madness for the Federal Government to increase the prices of fuel,” he said.

An advocate of the Supreme Court, Chris Akiri, in his opinion, said the move was ill-timed by the Federal Government, saying it would be unfortunate if the president went on with the action which he described as a threat to the country.

He said to increase the pump price by even 20 per cent at this stage of the country’s existence was unacceptable.

“It is going to engender a lot of negative effects. It will increase the cost of living and make the standard of living which has already fallen to fall the more.

“Remember, there is a limit to which you can push the people. My own attitude is to wait and see but I know Nigerians are ready to protest against it and I am sure the government will not carry out this threat,” he said.

Another House of Representatives member, representing Oshodi-Isolo Constituency II, Hon. Hakeem Muniru said the move was unacceptable, saying it was a further degradation of the psyche of the people.

“The House of Representatives will kick against this and come out with plans against this. It is not the best of time to do this. Before you can do anything like that, you have to put in measures to cushion the effect. They have to build the refineries and stop importation of fuel,” he stated.

A lawmaker, representing Epe Federal Constituency, Hon. Lanre Odubote also decried the move, saying it would not be in the interest of the commonman to increase fuel price.

According to him, the Federal Government should focus on developmental issues, adding that until measures to cushion the effect were put in place, government should not think of fuel hike.

While kicking against the planned increase, former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, asked Nigerians to come out massively to protest against it.

According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan was exhibiting the traits of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to eventually devalue the naira and make N500 equal to a dollar.

“When this did not work, the government decided to focus on increasing the price of fuel. Another reason President Jonathan is embarking on the increment is because of the high rate of corruption, stealing and waste in government, to the extent that the same government no longer has enough fund for developmental projects.

“So the next thing is to begin to exploit the people and further milk them of their hard earned money. I know the government would base its argument on the high international price of the product and further tell you that it has been over-subsidised in Nigeria, but this is not tenable especially looking at the challenges the country is already facing,” he said.

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According to him, Nigeria requires extra-work and extra-progress at this stage instead of extra-negative effect of living in the country, while urging the various workers’ unions and the entire country to rise up against the move.

Comrade Debo Adeniran, Founder, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, said the move by the government to increase fuel price was unwarranted and uncalled for, saying it was another way of punishing the proposed hike.

“Nigerians should rise up to the occasion and defend their rights and make the country ungovernable for those trying to destroy them,” he added.

The National President, Campaign for Democracy, CD, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the move“is wicked, callous, inhuman. Despite the resources we have in this country, it is so worrisome that the Federal Government wants to do this.”

She lamented that former Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO leader, late Chima Ubani died during one of the struggles against the increase of fuel price by the Federal Government.

“I think this government has not shown any sign that it is ready to cater for the needs of the masses. Our people must brace up; we must rise in unison and say no to fuel increase and the removal of fuel subsidy.

“The government of Jonathan is interested in punishing us. We must say no and match our word with action. This should spark off a revolution and we are tired and if we have to use the last drop of our blood to do this, we will do it,” she vowed.

The National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, said the proposed hike by the president was a symptom that the government was confused since there were other issues that require urgent attention than increase in fuel price.

Shettima also said the president was surrounded by people who were bent on derailing his government through bad advice, adding that “there is already the problem of insecurity and the average man is thinking of how best to live life without dying.

“It would be the highest mistake of his life if he goes ahead with the price hike because this would result in anarchy. He came to government through the power of God, but he is giving people the opportunity to cause problems for him.

“Another of such bad advice is the one from some places that the president should bring Gusau to government again. This man will ruin him if Jonathan appoints him. I am a northerner and I know your enemy can never be your friend.

In the event that the president goes ahead with the action, Shettima said: “we would be left with no choice than to help him cripple the country.”

Meanwhile, P.M.NEWS has learnt that the organised labour comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, and other such bodies are bracing for mass protests across the country on Thursday.

The Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Denja Yaqub, told P.M.NEWS that the protests would take place across the country to make it effective and send signals to Aso Rock that the organised labour was no longer prepared for dialogue.

“Our position is that there wont be any dialogue or negotiation over this matter. No right thinking person would think it is right for the government to increase the price of fuel in the country.

“In fact, the protest is not only based on the proposed fuel price increase, but other happenings in the country for some time now,” Yaqub said.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga & Eromosele Ebhomele

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