By Arogbonlo Israel
Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has revealed why the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) lacks the ‘constitutional power’ to determine the prices of petroleum products in Nigeria.
The cerebral lawyer, during an interview with Vanguard on Monday, faulted the attempted announcement of petrol price by PPPRA claiming the decision was ‘unconstitutional’ as the price determination ought to have been done by market forces.
“With respect to the attempted fuel hike by PPPRA which has no power whatsoever to make the announcement accredited to it, I was made to understand based on security report that Nigerians were prepared to challenge the increase before the government came out to apologise.
“But as far as I’m concerned, the government is merely buying time because the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has insisted that the prices of fuel be determined by the so-called market forces.
“You’ll recall that when last announcement was made, the government came out to say, ‘we’re under high pressure from the IMF and that henceforth, market forces would determine the prices of petroleum products in Nigeria’.
“But it appears that the government has realised that ultimately, it has to factor its sensibility, sensitivity and concerned of Nigerians.
“If the government had thought that with the agreement reached with the Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress there would be no protest in Nigeria, that’s no longer the case.
“As we saw last year, the ENDSARS movement did not involve the NLC or the TUC, yet organised one of the most successful protests ever held in Nigeria.
“So, I’m convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that any unpopular media would be fought by Nigerian people who have been overtaxed by the government,” he said.