The Civil Rights Advocacy Group: – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the ever pervasive and persistent climate of apprehension, anxiety and uncertainty on the pump price of premium motor spirit (pms) which the Rights activists believe is a trigger for massive scale of poverty, economic down turn and oppression of the downtrodden.
The Rights group stated that it was inconceivable that the petroleum sector that the President himself supervises as the senior minister can not provide clarity and certainty regarding the stability and affordability of petrol which remains critical to the economic survival of the masses and Corporate entities. The Rights group said it is regrettable too that at a time most Countries are introducing innovative replacements for PETROL and diesel so as to protect the environment and the biodiversity, Nigeria still operates with the mind-set of the 18th century because of the gross incompetence of the political class that have hijacked Nigeria.
HURIWA expresses disappointment that two agencies under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources which is headed by President Buhari namely :- the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum pricing Regulatory agency (PPPRA) are at each other’s throats over the exact pump price of petrol just as major dealers of the product have now become like shylock and lawless entrepreneurs who decide when to sell or when to hoard the product just so they can maximise profits at the detriment of the over 100 million absolutely poor Nigerians.
HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had just insisted that petrol depot price will remain unchanged in March.
HURIWA recalled that this is coming as a reaction to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA fixing the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, at N212.61 per litre, for the month of March on Thursday.
HURIWA recalled that the PPPRA confirmed that fuel subsidy actually officially returned in February 2021, as according to the downstream oil sector regulator, the actual pump price of PMS for February was between N183.74 and N186.74 per litre, meaning that the Federal Government paid an average of N16 per litre for PMS in the month. According to the PPPRA, based on the average cost for the period, February 1st to 28th 2021, and an average FMDQ Importer and Exporter (I&E) Naira/US Dollar Exchange Rate of N403.80, the expected retail price of PMS for March 2021, stands at N209.61 per litre and N212.61 per litre, being the lower and upper band respectively.
But in a media statement issued by HURIWA and signed by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group said the uncertainty in the price of petroleum products and the incessant hike in the pump price means that the central government lacks quality body of economic policy framers/Advisers just as the Rights group stated that the crisis characterizing the distribution and pricing of petrol means that those in charge of the sector are absolutely incompetent, selfish, petty, greedy, corrupt and are bent on destabilizing the already fragile economy of the world’s largest black nation.
HURIWA warned that the massive scale of poverty, unemployment and hunger afflicting over 100 million Nigerians who are too poor to feed on three meals per day could culminate in a mass action whose end may be catastrophic just as it appealed to government to be considerate, sensitive, responsible and rational in decision making and implementation because the constant increment in the costs of goods and services without the commensurate improvements in the purchasing power of the National currency vis-a-vis the Inter National currencies in a massively non productive nation like Nigeria would mean only one thing- absolute misery for the already impoverished population.
Besides, the Rights group said the perpetual uncertainty and hoarding of petrol by the marketers in collusion with government officials is directly at variance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with specific reference to section 16 which provide thus: 1. The State shall, within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution –a) Harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity; b) control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity; c) Without prejudice to its right to operate or participate in areas of the economy, other than the major sectors of the economy, manage and operate the major sectors of the economy; d) Without prejudice to the right of any person to participate in areas of the economy within the major sector of the economy, protect the right of every citizen to engage in any economic activities outside the major sectors of the economy. 2. The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring- a) The promotion of a planned and balanced economic development; b) that the material resources of the nation are harnessed aid distributed as best as possible to serve the common good, c) that the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the Production and exchange in the hands of few individuals of a group;”.
HURIWA has therefore asked Nigerians to be vigilant and to always take mass action to pass a message of rejection of oppressive and suppressive tendencies amongst officials of government since according to it, it is only active citizens that can serve as safeguards against tyranny, oppression and the total economic annihilation of the masses which the incoherent and inconsistent pricing policy in the critical sectors of the economy represents.