29 December 2011, Sweetcrude, BENIN – AGAINST claims by the federal government that it was subsidizing fuel with over N1.3trillion, it has been revealed that Nigerians were already over-paying for fuel, as the actual cost of a litre of petrol ought to be N39.50k.
This was disclosed in Benin yesterday in a communiqué issued at the end of a Town Hall meeting organized by a Coalition to Save Nigeria (CSN), made up of NLC, NBA, NMA, Civil Society organizations, professional bodies, students, market women and artisans.
According to the communiqué, “That Nigerians are prepared to resist the decimation of their lives by mobilizing professional organizations, labour and the great people to resist fuel price increase that has been tagged subsidy removal,”.
The communiqué went further to say that if the government could not check corruption in the various ministries, departments and agencies, the government should admit it and quit for those who have the capacity to do so.
While saying that the government could no longer be trusted because they have repeatedly told so many and the same lies, over and over again, participants at the Town Hall meeting called for downward review of pump price of fuel to N39.50k per litre, just as it called on government to account for the excess money for fuel price increase since June, 1999.
“That Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, having demonstrated incompetence and lack of adequate knowledge of the working of the Nigerian economy, and being the eye of the World Bank ‘policy trinity’ of the elimination of the public sphere, total liberation for corporations and skeletal social spending, therefore should be removed as minister,” the communiqué said.
Former ASUU President, Prof. Festus Iyayi, in his speech at the occasion advanced reasons why Nigerians should not accept fuel price increase, insisting that the petroleum products market has since been fully deregulated.
He further argued that Nigeria as a member of OPEC has no reason to sell petrol at the World Bank-recommended price, stressing that Nigeria produces light crude oil which costs less to refine.
He gave the pump price of petrol in fellow OPEC countries member as Saudi Arabia N18.00; Kuwait N32; United Arab Emirate N57; Venezuela N17; Qatar N34; Iran N17, and Algeria N31.
Prof. Iyayi while noting that fuel price has been increased 18 times in the country observed that since former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave out licenses for investors to build refineries in 2000, no single private refinery has been built.
“Nigeria has no private sector; all we have is parasites who take over what government has built. We have over 100 Nigerians who own private jets. Where did they get the money from,” he queried.
He accused those in government of being subsidized by ordinary Nigerians, alleging that in the current budget, the cost of feeding for President Goodluck Jonathan was one billion Naira, which according to him, translated to N2.4 million a day.