Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has said the recent hike in fuel price by the Federal Government is illegal and a reckless violation of the 1999 Constitution.
Lamenting that Nigerians have been stretched beyond their reasonable elastic limit due to the government’s numerous imposition of policies that steeply affect their livelihood, Falana called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse its decision and uphold his responsibility he promised Nigerians upon assumption of office.
The human right activist’s position was shared by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) via its Twitter handle on Tuesday.
“The fuel price increase negates the principles of the Nigerian constitution. President Buhari should live up to his responsibility. The increase in fuel price is illegal and should be annulled,” SERAP noted.
“The hike will increase the tempo of anger, frustration and desperation of Nigerians who are daily being pushed to the extreme of tolerance of the government’s extremist socio-economic programmes.
“Nigerians have been stretched beyond their reasonable elastic limit with the ceaseless imposition of policies that push the masses to cliff edge of livelihood.
“The Federal Government has taken yet another illegal decision. Nigerians are not expected to obey illegal orders.
“It is a reckless violation of section 6 (1) of the Petroleum Act which provides that “The Minister may by order published in the Federal Gazette fix the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria or in any particular part or parts thereof.
“In Bamidele Aturu v. AGF (suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/591/2009) the Federal High Court declared illegal and unconstitutional the policy decision of the FG to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry contrary to the Price Control Act and the Petroleum Act.”
The President has, however, consistently maintained that it won’t reverse its decision on fuel subsidy removal due to its several negative consequences.
“There are several negative consequences if the government should even attempt to go back to the business of fixing or subsidising PMS prices,” said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who represented President Buhari while declaring open a 2-day First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja on Monday.
“First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime; today we have 60 per cent less revenues; we just cannot afford the cost.
“The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration.
“Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly inflated prices; also, as I hinted earlier, there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget.
“Simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services
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