Fuel price increase illegal, insensitive – Falana

Fuel price increase illegal, insensitive – Falana
May 12 21:20 2016

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has condemned the new fuel price regime, saying the Federal Government action is insensitive to the plight of the masses.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said in a statement on Thursday that the new fuel price regime lacks statutory power because the body, empowered to take such decision is yet to be constituted by the government.

According to him, the decision by the government was “immoral and insensitive to the plight of the people of Nigeria.”

He therefore urged the government to revert to the old pump price, arguing  that the increment was contrary to the interest and yearning of Nigerians.

He noted that the present administration acted contrary to its promises not to remove subsidy in order to inflict undue pains on Nigerians, adding that 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.”

He argued that since the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which is empowered to recommend the price of petroleum products has not been reconstituted, such decision was wrong.

He continued : “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.”

Falana wondered why the increment when after the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) recently invited fresh bids for the setting up modular refineries, which resulted to licensing of 22 modular refineries “with combined capacities to refine 1.429 million barrels of crude oil per day. If the policy is genuinely pursued the construction of the refineries ought to be completed within the 9-12 months.

If such refineries are established in the country the importation of fuel and the fraud associated with it will stop. In the interim, instead of importing oil from Europe and the United States the NNPC should refine crude oil for domestic consumption in neighbouring countries which have functional refineries. After all, Nigeria refines 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day in Cote d’ivoire which is not an oil producing nation.” He said.

He further argued that “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. Kachukwu should tell Nigerians the justification for the new removal of fuel subsidy announced by him.

“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, within and without storage/ bridging charges etc?” He asked.