*I warned Nigerians in 2015 – Ayo Fayose
*APC taking Nigerians for granted – NLC
By Obas Esiedesa, Myke Uzendu and Christian Appollos
The Federal Government, in four consecutive months, hiked the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) at filling stations from N148 to N162 per litre.
Already, petrol dealers have adjusted their pumps at filling stations, while motorists and commuters agonise over the unexpected increase.
The hike came barely 24 hours after government had approved a rise in electricity tariff, for what electricity distribution companies calls Cost Reflexive Tarrif.
The fuel hike followed an internal memo by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), informing marketers that the ex-depot price has been increased to N151.56 per litre.
Ex-depot price is the price at which filling station owners purchase the product at the NNPC depots.
The memo to the effect sighted by The AUTHORITY was signed by the Ibadan NNOC Depot Manager, D.O. Abalaka and reads: “Please be informed that a product adjustment has been effected on our payment platform.
“To this end, the price of premium motor spirit is now N151.56 per litre. This is effective 2nd September, 2020”.
With no official statement from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the agency charged with determining the price of the product, filling station owners were left to arbitrarily fix their pump price.
Reacting to the development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected it, describing the development as “wicked and callous”.
The party in a statement on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, demanded an immediate reversal of the prices to avert national crisis, arguing that the increase will increase “the cost of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians, who are already impoverished and overburdened by high cost of living in the last five years”.
PDP stated that “by increasing the price of fuel from the N87 per litre it sold under the PDP to an excruciating N151 while at the same time allowing the hike in electricity tariff from N30.23 per kwh to over N66, the APC has left no one in doubt that its agenda is to inflict pain and hardship on Nigerians to satisfy their selfish interests.
“The unjustifiable increase in the price of these essential supplies, coming barely a week after the APC brazenly posted a support for fuel price hike, while attempting to rationalize the excruciating hardship being suffered by Nigerians under the Buhari administration, has further confirmed that the APC is at the center of the harsh policies of the Buhari Presidency.
“It is distressing that the APC administration increased the cost of essential commodities at the time the leadership of other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is instructive to add that our nation is doomed under the APC watch”.
The opposition party challenged the Buhari administration to publish the parameters for the increase to N151 per liter since the prevailing price in the international market, the price template for domestic pump price should not be above N100 per liter.
It accused APC of failing to investigate allegations of fuel price overcharge and “fraudulent subsidy regime through which over N14 trillion” had allegedly been frittered by unscrupulous individuals in the APC.
“Our fear is that the APC is pushing Nigerians to the wall with its obnoxious and anti-people proclivities and we caution that nobody should misinterpret the peaceful and law-abiding nature of Nigerians as a sign of weakness” PDP said.
It irged the National Assembly to save the nation by calling the APC and its administration to order before they plunge our nation into chaos.
Also reacting, the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, and a strong critic of Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, said he had warned Nigerians on the current events during the countdown to the 2015 presidential polls.
Fayose in a statement on his twitter handle, @GovAyoFayose, also questioned the position of members of the Save Nigeria Group, who protested against the fuel price increase by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012.
He said: “Petrol is now N151.56. The increment was made when other countries are adopting measures to reduce the effects of COVID-19 lockdown on their citizens.
“Just in case those who led the Save Nigeria protests across Nigeria during the PDP government of Jonathan are not aware. I warned.”
*APC govt , taking Nigerians for granted-Wabba
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has lampooned President Buhari, accusing his administration of taking Nigerians for granted.
Speaking to The AUTHORITY on phone over the price hike, he said: “Infact, Nigerians and even NLC are in shock. This increase is coming at a time when Nigerians are passing through very peculiar and precarious times.”
“The increase in price of petroleum is like adding sult to injury. This has happened now more than three times in three months.
“Only yesterday, they hiked the tariff of electricity. And to compound it, they also reduced the interest rate of savings which affects mostly the poor and the vulnerable.”
“At the end of the day, Nigerians are becoming poorer and poorer, in fact many people are already on the edge. Many workers are already on the edge.”
“Certainly we cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony, and we will have to call our organs and we will have to also react but we reject it in its entirety”.
*PDP responsible for incessant fuel pump increase – APC
On its part, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) blamed the PDP governments for the problem, saying they foisted “a corruption-tainted fuel subsidy regime” in the country.
In a statement issued by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena on Wednesday, APC called on the PDP “to surprise itself and indeed Nigerians by cajoling its cronies who ran the subsidy rackets to return our stolen commonwealth in their possession”.
The party said that “under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, fuel queues as a result of biting scarcities are gone”, adding that “the reviewed petroleum products pricing template has resulted in a more transparent, efficient and realistic pricing system for petroleum products and also resulted in constant availability of fuel nationwide.
“The pricing template now reflects competitive and market driven components which is supported by the citizenry.
“In an effort by this administration to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity, President Buhari recently directed a nationwide mass metering programme for electricity consumers in the country.
“For the PDP that is only concerned with pushing the interests of its few cronies over the general interest and welfare of the citizenry, we don’t expect the PDP to grasp the import of this landmark presidential directive which aside improving electricity and service delivery, is also protecting the poor and vulnerable Nigerians from increased electricity tariff and arbitrary/estimated billings.
“Comendably, the federal government is already working to ensure that Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) commit to increasing the number of hours of electricity supply every day and also improve on their quality of service.
“Perhaps the PDP is also unaware, that the current administration has approved a one-year waiver of import levy on electricity meters, so that Nigerians who do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at a reasonable cost.”