By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–A Niger Delta group under the aegis of Ogoni Liberation Initiative,has warned against further action on the proposed N385 fuel price hike, asking the proponents to immediately drop the proposal.
The group said implementation of the proposal especially at this time that citizens have not recovered from lockdown and other measures associated with COVID-19 outbreak would further worsen the plights of NIgerians.
Addressing a media conference in Abuja, Thursday, in collaboration with other civil society organisations,President,Ogoni Liberation Initiative,Dr Douglas Fabeke,said the group rejected in totality the proposal which he alleged, emanated from state governors.
Reading a prepared text,tagged:”Civil Society Groups’ Rejection of new Proposed N 385 Pump Price of Petrol”,Dr Fabeke,alleged that there were
“desperate attempts by the Nigerian Governors Forum to pressure the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,NNPC, to increase the official pump price of petrol from N 162 to N 385 per litre.”
According to him,there was “also an underground plan to influence Mr President to remove the GMD NNPC for refusing to approve the N380 per litters and also his commitment to addressing all the bad things happening in the system and make a sustainable change in the oil and gas Industry.”
“We,the members of the Ogoni Liberation Initiative are holding this press conference with the support of Civil Society Organisations, to bring to the notice of the Federal Government, the state governments, the international community and the general public of Civil Society Groups’ rejection of the new proposed N 385 pump price of petrol by the Nigerian Governors forum,”he insisted.
He noted that “on the 19th day of May, 2021, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) held a virtual meeting and adopted the recommendations of the report of a six-man committee headed by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, recommending among other things that the pump price of petrol should be increased from N162 to N385 per litre.”
” Recall also that the referenced report and recommendations contained therein was presented to the National Economic Council headed by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at its meeting held on the 20th day of May, 2021,”he further noted.
Dr Fabeke said:”The Ogoni Liberation Initiative and other Civil Society Organisations describe this desperate attempt by the NGF as callous, inhumane, and a betrayal of the public trust reposed on them by the electorate.”
He vowed that the organisation would “utilise every legal means possible to resist and revolt any attempt by government to further deepen the suffering of Nigerians by increasing the pump price of petrol as this will bring an unbearable hardship to all Nigerian, and further push the nation to a total collapse.”
“It is unfortunate that the Nigerian governors are making this call at this moment when Nigerians are yet to recover from the ravaging effect of COVID-19.
” It is sad that last year, economic activities all over the country were shut down and many businesses closed down as a result of the lock-down order of the national and state governments to curb the wide spread of corona virus pandemic, leading to lot of losses among which included the disengagement of workers by corporate organisations and businesses,”he said.
He regretted that, “Many are yet to recover from the losses, while some of the disengaged workers are yet to find employment replacement to earn a living.”
“The rising challenging security situation in the country has further aggravated the pains of Nigerians as most businesses who thrive in the night such as transport companies, hotels, bars, night clubs and other recreational centres are shut down as a result of the curfew order imposed by state governors in their respective states to curb the security challenges and the gruesome killings of our security officers by armed bandits.
“At this time when children and our youths are dying on the streets as a result of hunger, businesses are closing down, foreign direct investments have come to a screeching halt and high rate of unemployment in the country, rather than the state governors to complement the efforts of the Federal Government by diversifying the economy, creating employment and improving their internally generated revenue through other sources other than oil and gas, they are attempting to introduce policies that will further impoverish Nigerians,”he further said.
According to him”The problem is that most of our governors are self-centred, lazy and visionless. ”
“They only rely on the federal allocation and do not have any economic plan to drive the economy of their respective states.
” Most of them are finding it difficult to implement the (stipend) N30,000.00 minimum wage while others are agitating for the reduction of the minimum wage.
“They cannot pay minimum wage to Nigerian workers yet they want double the current pump price of petrol.
“We are disappointed at the action and attitude of the governors in taking such a decision that will have adverse effect on Nigerians.
“We condemn this move as insensitive and call on the federal government of Nigeria, NEC, and the NNPC to disregard this anti-people proposal of the NGF as its acceptance will further heat up the country.
“The government should rather make the refineries in Nigeria to work perfectly and also give an opportunities for private investors to invest more in modular refineries in order to boost local production and supply, create employment and increase the revenue of the country.
“At this present time that Nigeria is facing challenges of insecurities , we need leaders of vision and creativity who will drive the nation beyond all obstacle for a better Nigeria, there is no need to do things that will create an opportunities that will lead to collapse of the system through insecurities,”he added.