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We Have All Been Deceived By Buhari – Femi Falana

by on May 13, 2016
 

Femi Falana, Lagos-based human rights lawyer, says President Muhammadu Buahri has reneged on his campaign promise of not increasing the pump price of petrol.

Describing the increase as illegal, the lawyer demanded a reversal to the old rate. He said the government lacked statutory power to introduce new price regime because the body empowered to take such decision is yet to be constituted.

He also advised Buhari not to allow “neo-liberal ideologues, with intent to punish the people” hijack his administration.

Falana said this in a statement issued on Friday.

BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT

During the campaign last year, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari pledged that if elected as President by the Nigerian people his administration would not remove fuel subsidy. Since he won the election last year President Buhari has consistently resisted pressures from the neo-liberal characters in the government to remove fuel subsidy and increase the price of petrol. On January 18, 2016 the federal government allayed the fear of Nigerians when the price of petrol was reduced to N86.50k per litre. In justifying the decision to the people the federal government claimed that the reduction was due to an implementation of the revised component of the Petroleum Products Pricing Template for PMS and household kerosene. 

 It would be recalled that following the popular agitation against the removal of fuel subsidy in 2012, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had announced the decision of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to set up 30 green field refineries in the country.

Shortly thereafter, the policy was jettisoned due to pressure from the cabal of local fuel importers. In 2013, the Jonathan administration secured a loan of $1.6 billion for the maintenance of the country’s four refineries. At the end of the repairs the refineries could only refine about 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day instead of 445,000 barrels earmarked for domestic consumption.

The Buhari administration has also spent millions of dollars for the so called turn around maintenance of the refineries. Barely a month ago, Dr. Kachikwu had announced that fuel subsidy had been removed through his ingenuity. In celebrating the “success” recorded by him in the management of the petroleum industry he disclosed that Nigeria was saving $1 billion in subsidy removal and $1 billion in fuel importation. He also stated that “for the first time, our refineries are ready to work now. Crude has been pumped from Brass to Port Harcourt.

Pipeline is being used for the first time in 10 years for the first time in six years. For the first time we are able to pump to Ilorin, we have not done that in 10 years.” (Nigerian Tribune, March 16, 2016). Curiously, Dr. Kachikwu’s “giant strides” in the petroleum industry appear to have collapsed completely before our very eyes!

Hence, without any public debate or consultation with relevant stakeholders whatsoever the federal government took the Nigerian people by surprise yesterday when it decided to increase the pump price of petrol from N86.50k to N145 per litre. Not too long ago, the federal government had supported the imposition of higher tariffs paid on epileptic supply of electricity by consumers.

In sentencing the Nigerian people to excruciating economic agony the Ministry of Power defied a court order which had restrained the government from giving effect to the proposed electricity tariff. In the same vein, the decision to increase the price of petrol is also illegal and contemptuous. In the case of Bamidele Aturu versus Attorney-General of the Federation (unreported suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/591/2009) the Federal High Court declared illegal and unconstitutional the policy decision of the federal government to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry contrary to the combined effect of the provisions of the Price Control Act and the Petroleum Act.

 In total defiance of the said order of the federal high court the federal government has deregulated the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. In justifying the illegal policy, Dr. Kachikwu claimed that “PPPRA has informed me that it will be announcing a new price band effective today, 11th May, 2016 and that the new price for PMS will not be above N145 per litre.”

 Since the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which is statutorily empowered to recommend the price of petroleum products has not been reconstituted 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. 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.

However, due to the ongoing fuel crisis in the country the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) recently invited fresh bids for the setting up modular refineries. At the end of the screening exercise sometime in March this year the DPR announced that it had awarded 22 licences for 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. Kachikwu 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, demurrage within and without /storage/ bridging charges etc?

At this stage President Buhari ought to prevent neo-liberal ideologues from hijacking the administration for the purpose of punishing the Nigerian people for the looting of the treasury and mismanagement of the national economy. Contrary to the position of the parasitic ruling class that prices of goods and services be fixed by market forces the federal government has a legal obligation to protect the people from exploitation. For instance, the virtual collapse of electricity supply has forced many corporate bodies and individuals to invest heavily in generators and diesel throughout the country. Although the price of diesel has crashed all over the world it has continued to increase in Nigeria due to manipulation. The federal government should, as a matter of urgency, abolish the monopoly in the importation and sale of diesel. There is no justification for the monopolistic control of goods and services under a free market economy!

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  • cypo onang
    May 13, 2016 at 8:52 am

    But are we sure that buhari has conscience at all? Jonathan’s administration wanted to implement the said subsidy removal but his cabal kick against it. He promised to reduce the price of petrol to #35/lit, constant electric supply, but today what are we seeing? DECEIVED, in fact we have been SCAMMED

    Reply

    • May 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      nobody deceived anybody.He made the promises based on the little he knew about the Govt of the day.Govt is a package and you can’t know much about what goes on within until you are there.
      Would you have believed if you were told that people were stealing all these billions during Jonathan’s era?
      You won’t believe because it was carefully concealed and packaged.That is what is called packaging.
      Now if you were the president,what would you have done?
      please tell us because Nigerians want to hear from you.please remember that,
      Warri refinery is not operational again,there is no fund in Govt to import as well and you can not force people to import against their wish.
      Are you also not aware that people will import fuel,collect subsidy and still sell for very high price.
      PLEASE TELL US IF YOU WERE IN HIS POSITION,WHAT YOU WILL DO.THANKS.

      Reply

      • Tobi Ezekiel
        May 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm

        What I would have done is “Trade by Barter”.

        Reply

      • Timi fin
        May 13, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        Your buhari shld go back to school. Tinubu etc apc using him. They are too intellent for him! if he doesnt know what electoral promises promises is all about it goes to show the president and apc have deceived nigeria to hijerk power at all cost. So now they can do wotever dey like.. Why didnt he promise he would build a firstclass airport in the air. He wont becos he knows people wl know this one is a lier. Reverse d thing jo! This man is not the saviour nigeria want!

        Reply

  • Comr UK
    May 13, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Now i truly regrated voting dis fulani cow who made me hate GEJ and lied 2us of making life beta but d reverse is d case. God shw us 2019

    Reply

  • Aya'olo
    May 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    So now you know who Buhari is? With all your academic and social qualifications you can be deceived by a SLC holder, shame on you. I know that all these old men and women does’nt have what it takes to give Nigeria a beter future.

    Reply

  • solomon
    May 13, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Buhari is a disappointment to Nigerians and his generation yet unborn, now I don’t need a prophet to tell me that his actually brain dead. His of twenty fourth century but his ideas are caked. Now I think Nigerians have to apologise to Jonathan especially me.

    Reply

  • Tobi Ezekiel
    May 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    This has really shown that this APC did not prepare for the task before promising heaven and earth. I knew it will come to this as PMB was helped to get realized his ambition by the same cabals. Where is the like of Tam David-West who forecast that petrol would be sold at N45/lts if PMB was president. Abeg, make we fear God oooooooooo.

    Reply

  • JESUS SAVE
    May 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    May our LORD JESUS HAVE MERCY ON NIGERIA and deliver us from lies, wickedness, fail promises, deception and all manners of evils in JESUS NAME amen…

    Reply

  • silas
    May 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    All state should manage her resouces,all the oil blog are own by the northaners why so?

    Reply

  • On point
    May 13, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I agree with this report,makes sense

    Reply

  • Mr nowahala
    May 13, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    MINUS ME, NO WAHALA, BUHARI ONLY DECEIVED THOSE WHO DID NOT KNOW HIM. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING! WE STILL HAVE MORE 3YRS TO SUFFER IN HIS HANDS.

    Reply

  • adedamola
    May 13, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Comment…subsidy is meant for a vibrant economy not an ailing one. In nigeria, subsidy is a means of cover up for govt failure. The removal of subsidy and the 145/liter only reveals to nigeria the state of oil economy in nigeria and shows us we have a long way to go. While the 86/liter shows a blatant lie. If we are to have a low pump price we must refine oil localy and stop importation. Since we cant do that yet we dont have to patch with subsidy and keep on paying above 100/liter. We used to buy petrol at about this same price. We just have to be patient

    Reply

  • DeJudge roseborn
    May 13, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Have nothing to regret because I didn’t vote for the incumbent. Beside I am not suprise, I foresee this coming, more whips are on the way. Leopard can never changes its spot.

    Reply

  • TRUTH HURTS
    May 13, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    MY SINCERE APOLOGIES TO GEJ.THEY TOLD US HE WAS DUMB, WEAK ETC. I NOW KNOW HE IS MUCH MORE BETTER THAN ALL THOSE PROPAGANDISTS UNITED BY HATE. GEJ PLS FIND A SPACE IN YOUR HEART TO FORGIVE US. WE WERE INDEED DECEIVED. NOW WE ARE BEING SCAMMED! WE ARE INDEED SUFFERING! THEY SAID YOUR GOVT WAS CORRUPT, YET WE WERE BETTER OFF WITH IT, NOW SEE WHAT WE ARE FACING!

    Reply

  • Omeje emmanuel
    May 14, 2016 at 8:37 am

    On a very serious note,am so so disapointed.the increament is high and outrageous.67% even when we are mar with inflation already.am an advocate of change but this is not the type of change we champion for our citizens.am disapointed in buhari and the entire Apc government for this untold hardship melted on the average nigeria.epileptic power supply with high bills,high inflation and now pms increament.just to mention a few.baba why? This is not what you promise us.one chance.Comment…

    Reply

  • Barry
    May 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Comment…@ elfad u’re a fool 2 av mention he made d promise based on d little he knew! And if I may ask wil a wise man make promise based on unknown resources? It wil b reduculus 4 someone 2 refuse 2 say d truth. And may God help His children in dis Country Amen

    Reply

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