No Plan To Jack Up Fuel Price, Says Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks at his last presidential campaign rally of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja Saturday, March 26, 2011. President Goodluck Jonathan has round off his presidential campaign rally ahead of April elections. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Eromosele Ebhomele & with agency report

President Goodluck Jonathan said in Abuja on Sunday that the Federal Government had no plans to increase pump price of petroleum products.

Jonathan, who gave this assurance at a Presidential Media Chat, noted that such action could not be taken without following due process and the consent of Nigerians.

“I have no plans now to change petroleum pump price, but if I have to do it, I will do it following due process,” the President said.

He denied insinuations that his administration was not decisive enough to fight corruption in the country.

According to him, the federal government is doing everything possible to investigate and bring to book every corrupt public officer.

He assured Nigerians of improved electricity supply, adding that the present epileptic electricity supply in the country would soon be a thing of the past.

“We are not moving as fast as we are supposed to, but the steps we are taking will lead this country to a greater level.

“We will surely improve on it; I assure you it is not going to be worse than this.

“This government is committed and we are doing our best and we are seeing rays of hope,” Jonathan said.

He added that the Federal Government was, however, looking at how to secure loan to invest robustly in the energy sector.

On the fight against insurgency, the president noted that he had never said that his cabinet was infiltrated by members of Boko Haram as was being insinuated in some quarters.

“I used the word government, I never said cabinet,” he stressed.

He maintained that due to his government‘s determination to fight insurgency in the country, some government officials and security personnel were being interrogated on grounds of acts of insurgency.

On the issues of his delay in declaring his intension to contest the 2015 presidential election, Jonathan said that; “this should not be a problem to Nigerians.”

He added that the nation‘s economy and its survival should be the concern of the people and not his presidential ambition.

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“ACP as the major opposition party has not even named their candidate and you are talking of PDP,” he said.

President Jonathan also took a swipe at members of the House of Representatives describing them as more political with the country’s challenges than co-operative about solving them.

He also accused the members of the House of engaging in “parliamentary dictatorship.”

President Jonathan  confessed during his seventh Media Chat that there is a cold war between him and members of the House of Representatives.

Asked how he was tackling the allegation that the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, spent billions of naira maintaining a private jet, President Jonathan gave the impression that the minister was not the first to do so and that it may not be a crime after all.

According to him, the Petroleum ministry is one that used to have an aircraft and that this was not the first time it would charter one due to the nature of its activities.

He also denied that Alison-Madueke had secured a court injunction to stop her probe by the House of Representatives over the allegation, but said he was aware of the various protests against the probe.

Alison-Madueke had reportedly secured a court injunction against her probe by the House Committee on Public Accounts, but the judge also allegedly denied ever giving an injunction.

He then gave the impression that the members of the House of Representatives were out to persecute his appointees, saying for example, that the former Minister of Aviation had appeared before the members several times.

He also said some members of his cabinet spend more days of the week honouring summons by different committees of the House.

The President, who noted that the Senate was more mature in their approach to issues, said as a result of the serious problem his government has with the House of Representatives, he has instructed the country’s Attorney-General to review the situation and come up with a possible solution.

“Issues with the House of Representatives are issues that are not clear. “There is more of politics than work in the House of Representatives,” he said.

The President also confirmed earlier complaints by Nigeria’s military personnel that they were poorly equipped to confront the insurgents threatening the peace of the country.

He said for years, considerations were not given to equipping the country’s security agencies until the Boko Haram attacks exposed the problem.

He said his government was looking at strengthening the military, adding that he had just approved a memo for the recruitment and training of more Nigerians into the military