By IseOluwa Ige
ABUJA â€” Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu, yesterday commenced an action before the Abuja Federal High court sitting in Maitama, seeking its order to stop the Federal Government from going ahead with its plan to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry from November 1, this year.
He is contending that deregulating the oil sector without controlling, first, the prices of petroleum products as planned by government is not only illegal but also anti-masses.
Aturu who commenced the public interest litigation yesterday vide an originating summons is inviting the court to declare as illegal, unlawful, null and void the policy decision of the Federal Government to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria.
He is also seeking an injunctive order restraining the government from going ahead with the implementation of the policy.
Deregulation, according to the Federal Government, is the only answer to the ailments of the sector. It is governmentâ€™s argument that the policy, if implemented, will save a huge amount of cash and ensure a steady flow of products in the country.
But opponents of the policy including Aturu are claiming that the government policy, as conceived, will not only raise fuel prices nationwide but also affect the freedom of movement of the masses and compound their misery.
Unfortunately, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) who canvassed the position of government has insisted that there is no going back on the policy.
The insistence by the government to go ahead with the implementation made Lagos lawyer to approach the court for its intervention.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.