Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, has said that the new fuel price regime announced by the Federal Government is illegal and lacks statutory power because the body, empowered to take such decision is yet to be constituted by the government.
He also described the move by the federal government as immoral and insensitive to the people of Nigeria, calling on government to revert to the old pump price.
Falana, in a statement made available to newsmen, insisted that the increment was contrary to the interest and yearning of Nigerians for the further reduction of the fuel price, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari administration acted contrary to its promises not to remove subsidy in order not to inflict undue pains on Nigerians.
According to him, the decision was wrong since the sole body statutorily responsible for fixing fuel price is not yet constituted, saying 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 said further: “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.”
Continuing, Falana said it beats the imagination why government would go for an increase after the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR, recently invited fresh bids for the setting up of 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.
“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 yesterday.
“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?”
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