Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has condemned the recent removal of oil subsidy by the Federal government which has caused the pump price of petrol to jump to N145 per liter. According to Falana, Buhari has reneged on his campaign promise of not increasing pump price. Falana said this in a statement he release yesterday May 12th. Read the statement below:
During the campaign last year, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari pledged that if elected as President by the Nigerian people his administration would not remove fuel subsidy. Since he won the election last year President Buhari has consistently resisted pressures from the neo-liberal characters in the government to remove fuel subsidy and increase the price of petrol. On January 18, 2016 the federal government allayed the fear of Nigerians when the price of petrol was reduced to N86.50k per litre.
In justifying the decision to the people the federal government claimed that the reduction was due to an implementation of the revised component of the Petroleum Products Pricing Template for PMS and household kerosene.
It would be recalled that following the popular agitation against the removal of fuel subsidy in 2012, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had announced the decision of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to set up 30 green field refineries in the country.
Shortly thereafter, the policy was jettisoned due to pressure from the cabal of local fuel importers. In 2013, the Jonathan administration secured a loan of $1.6 billion for the maintenance of the country’s four refineries. At the end of the repairs the refineries could only refine about 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day instead of 445,000 barrels earmarked for domestic consumption.
The Buhari administration has also spent millions of dollars for the so called turn around maintenance of the refineries. Barely a month ago, Dr. Kachikwu had announced that fuel subsidy had been removed through his ingenuity. In celebrating the “success” recorded by him in the management of the petroleum industry he disclosed that Nigeria was saving $1 billion in subsidy removal and $1 billion in fuel importation. He also stated that “for the first time, our refineries are ready to work now. Crude has been pumped from Brass to Port Harcourt.
Pipeline is being used for the first time in 10 years for the first time in six years. For the first time we are able to pump to Ilorin, we have not done that in 10 years.” (Nigerian Tribune, March 16, 2016). Curiously, Dr. Kachikwu’s “giant strides” in the petroleum industry appear to have collapsed completely before our very eyes!
Hence, without any public debate or consultation with relevant stakeholders whatsoever the federal government took the Nigerian people by surprise yesterday when it decided to increase the pump price of petrol from N86.50k to N145 per litre. Not too long ago, the federal government had supported the imposition of higher tariffs paid on epileptic supply of electricity by consumers.
“In sentencing the Nigerian people to excruciating economic agony the Ministry of Power defied a court order which had restrained the government from giving effect to the proposed electricity tariff. In the same vein, the decision to increase the price of petrol is also illegal and contemptuous. 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 wi