…Blames FG For Lack Of Political Will To Tackle Situation

Ben Dunno, Warri

Foremost Rights group, Committee For Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), has handed down a seven-day ultimatum to federal government, especially Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari, to direct all its regulatory agencies to ensure reversal of the current hike in price of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) otherwise known as petrol to its official pump price of N185 or risk mass protests across the country.

CDHR National President, Comrade (Dr) Kehinde Prince Taiga, who issued the threat in a statement made available to newsmen in Warri, weekend, noted that the action had become necessary has the masses can no longer continue with the hardship they have been subjected these past few weeks as a result of greed and exploitative tendencies of the cabals in the oil sector.

He also frowned at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) over the recent hike in fuel prices between #350-#500, depending on the peculiarities of each states, adding that the failure to carry out its statutory responsibility deligently since the exploitation started had further lend credence to alleged conspiracy between its officials and marketers to rip off the public of their hard-earned money.

While noting that in the past week himself and his team had taken time out to investigate the situation, Taiga blamed the NNPCL for failing to carry out its primary duty of making products available directly to Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria(IPMAN) but rather choose to deal with them through third parties in the Private Depot Owners.

Describing this move by the management of NNPCL as corrupt and counter-productive, he disclosed that it had been discovered that this decision was taken deliberately based on selfish interests of some individuals within the system to frustrate and inflict more pains on Nigerians who already were going through severe economic hardship.

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CDHR Boss also faulted the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) for encouraging this corrupt practice and extorting the public by allowing marketers to buy their products at high prices from third parties and selling at outrageous prices to the populace, hereby inflicting more hardship on them.

Comr. Taiga, who also did fact findings to the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) now known as the Nigeria Mainstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory(NMDPR), reminded the body of their obligations which include; to monitor filling stations, ensuring that they sell fuel at the federal government recently approved price of #185. 

He said that from the findings he made and from the information gathered, Comr. Taiga told our correspondent that the recent hike in fuel prices between #350-#500, as it varies in other States, is a system problem that can only be addressed from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Minister of Petroleum, President Mohammed Buhari, whom has also kept mute to the plights and travails of the people. 

He further stated that the private depot owners are buying dollars on black market rates from NNPCL, which is two(2) times of the normal government rate, which had made them(Depots Owners) sell to markets at high rates. He also said that it is the responsibility for NNPCL to sell to both the markets and private depots who are also subsidiaries of NNPCL and the same time regardless.

According to the statement; “CDHR is using this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria and various oil sector stakeholders to critically look into the sudden hike in fuel prices and remedy the situation within the shortest possible time”.

“Two things can not happening to Nigerians at the same time. First, was the fact that they had to cope with the terrible consequences of bad governance all these years, especially with the dwindling economic fortunes and now the sudden hike in fuel prices”. 

“We therefore urged the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) now known as the Nigeria Mainstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory (NMDPR), to take to the streets across the states to monitor activities at filling stations and ensure that they sell at the approved pump prices of N185”.

“Otherwise, the people would be left with no other option than to demonstrate her civil rights through peaceful  protest as guaranteed in the 1999 constitution as amended”, he warned.