BY PAUL ODENYI
Abuja—The All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, has condemned the removal of fuel subsidy, describing it as insensitive to the suffering of the average citizens of the country. He also urged the National Assembly to invoke section 16 (1) of the 1999 constitution to stop government from the removal of subsidy.
According to the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the National Assembly’s empowered under that section to seek for the welfare of the economy and by it the well being of citizen of the country.
Onu said his party had warned in the past about the removal of subsidy, especially at a meeting between the President and leaders of various political parties that the meausre is bound to bring suffering and other unpleasant consequences in the land.
In his words: “We view it as an insensitive action that will further worsen the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians who are already suffering too much. We have witnessed sharp increases in the prices of food items, transport fares and in virtually all sectors of the economy since the action of the Federal Government was made public just a few days ago. To make matters worse, we recall that with effect from January 1, this year, the tariff for electric power supply would also have been increased by the same Government.
“We wish to ask: why should an elected Government which did not canvass these changes during the electioneering campaign decide to inflict on Nigerians such pain and hardship without giving serious thought to their happiness and well being especially in the circumstance where even the value of the Naira which has already been recently devalued by the same Federal Government?” he said
The ANPP warned that there are the possibility of the unpleasant consequences for our beloved country in view of recent developments in other parts of the World where deteriorating living conditions had triggered unpleasant social and political challenges.
The party further said: “We wish to point out that as an oil producing nation, Nigerians deserve to enjoy the availability of petroleum products at affordable prices.
We had made our position known in the past and also state the same now that the Federal Government rushing to remove subsidy on petrol in an environment of a very high level of corruption in the oil Industry and a situation where our refineries have been prevented from working can only bring untold hardship on our people as they are forced to subsidize inefficiency in the system by paying an artificially high price for petrol.
The Federal Government should have demonstrated courage and the political will to get the system to work by addressing the problem of corruption in the system as well as ensuring that our refineries can work once again.
“As a political party, we call on the National Assembly to invoke the provisions of Section 16 1(b) of the Constitution which empowers it to “control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice, equality of status and opportunity”.
“In this pursuit, we urge it to take a serious look at the 2012 Appropriation Bill as presented to it by Mr. President and ensure that the issue of removal of petrol subsidy is reviewed with emphasis placed on due process, accountability, global best practices and respect for the rule of law.
“As representatives of the democratic conscience of the Nigerian people, it has an important obligation to ensure that the tyranny of executive power is checked to enhance the peoples happiness and well being in the prevailing circumstance.
“Further, we are worried by indications which suggest the suppression of popular dissent by the Nigeria Police in the ongoing protests by some civil society organisations in the country. Peaceful protests are an integral part of the democratic process and should be seen as a necessary tool for popular democracy to thrive and endure.
“We urge the Nigeria Police to desist from actions which portray it as anti-people, especially in a democracy where freedom and liberty are constitutionally guaranteed.
“Finally, as a political party we are on the side of the Nigerian People in their legitimate search to secure their happiness and enhance their well being. We shall remain tireless in the lawful pursuit of efforts that will lift their spirit and return smiles to the faces of our fellow countrymen and women who for long have been taken for granted. They can count on us both now and in the future. We do not support the removal of petrol subsidy.