In the light of a declaration from the former and present bosses of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the price of fuel might have to be increased from the current rate of N145 per litre, various factions of Labour such as the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Afenifere, former federal lawmakers, security experts and rights activists, have vowed to resist any plans for a fuel hike, warning the Federal Government not to try it.
According to the Punch, the NNPC are stating that the N145 per litre regime is no longer possible and that the price of fuel needs to be increased. The NNPC claims that the current regime does not correspond with the price determining components of the commodity and the fluctuations of the foreign exchange rate.
In a statement, the NNPC said, “They (the GMDs) noted that the petrol price of N145/litre is not congruent with the liberalisation policy especially with the foreign exchange rate and other price determining components such as crude cost, Nigerian Ports Authority charges, etc remaining uncapped.”
The NNPC state that the GMDs worry that the current state of play could have a severe impact on the environment and the nation’s revenue and that it could potentially lead to the crippling of the corporation and the nation’s oil and gas sector.
However, Labour unions have said that things must stay as they are, considering how much of a fuss was raised over the initial increment to N145 per litre, labour have said that Nigerians will kick against any attempts to increase the price of fuel.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, stated in an interview with the Punch “We had given a warning before that Nigerians cannot take any further increase, that they shouldn’t do it.
“That remains our position, and if they go ahead and do it, it is up to Nigerians to say how they want to respond to it. But we remain opposed to any new increase in the price of petroleum product.”
He wasn’t the only one to state aversion to any new price regime, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Bala Kaigama also stated that the government shouldn’t try it. He said, “Nigerians have been taken for granted a couple of times by the Buhari’s government but things would be different this time around. We would fight this modern-day slavery.”
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin added his voice to those against it opining that there was no way Nigerians would accept any new pricing,
“There is a limit to which you can tax poverty, it is only prosperity you can continue to make demands on.
“If you are unable to provide an enabling environment for people to improve their lives and you continue to tax them wantonly, you risk the rage of the poor,”