Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Why Nigerians Must Protest and Reject the Illegal Removal of Fuel Subsidy

Why Nigerians Must Protest and Reject the Illegal Removal of Fuel Subsidy

The sudden announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy on New Year’s Day shocked Nigerians who were still on holidays and they were outraged by the overnight change in the pump price of petrol by owners of filling stations across Nigeria without any authorized benchmark price by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

It is brazenly corrupt and outrageously fraudulent for the filling stations to start selling fuel at exorbitant pump prices immediately the government announced the removal of fuel subsidy on January 1, 2012, without any notification to the citizens who are the primary consumers.

The fuel being sold between N137 and N200 per litre was imported under the fuel subsidy regime; therefore it is daylight robbery of consumers by the corrupt and fraudulent government, oil marketers and their distributors with thousands of filling stations all over Nigeria.
Millions of litres of fuel imported before the removal of the fuel subsidy are now being sold to helpless consumers at exorbitant prices with the consent and approval of the corrupt administration of President Goodluck Jonathan against the wishes of the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives.

The government has the right to implement the deregulation of the downstream sector, but it must be done legally and not arbitrarily.

The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Reginald Stanley lied when he said the removal of the fuel subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was done after extensive consultations with stakeholders across the nation and that service providers in the sector are now going to procure the PMS products and sell them in accordance with the indicative benchmark price published fortnight on the PPPRA website.

Who were the so called stakeholders across the nation who agreed with the PPPRA to remove the fuel subsidy overnight?

None of the so called service providers has the right to sell the already imported and available PMS products at inflated prices when the benchmark price has not been established by the PPPRA. So, those who are selling the products at anything above the fuel subsidy pump price of N65 are doing so illegally and it is criminal and the PPPRA must prosecute them accordingly or be held responsible as complicit in the rip-off of the consumers of PMS in Nigeria.

The consumers were never informed or notified that the fuel subsidy would be removed on January 1, 2012. Therefore the people have the constitutional and legitimate right to protest and reject the corrupt act of gross injustice.

~ Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

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