By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Federal Government to end the grandstanding and listen to Nigerians on the issue of the recent fuel and electricity prices increases.
The PDP said in a statement that there is no way Nigerians can survive the hike in the cost of fuel and electricity, as currently imposed by the present administration, given the level of poverty prevalent in the country.
The party described the brazen attempt by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to justify the excessive hike in the cost of fuel from N87 per liter under the PDP to N162 as well as electricity from N30.23 per kwh to over N66kw/h, as yet another daring and intolerable affront to the Nigerian citizenry, who have summarily rejected the increases.
The party said this in the statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The main opposition party stated that it
stands with Nigerians in insisting that there is no way “our compatriots can survive a N162 per liter fuel price and a N66 per kw/h of electricity in a country which, in the last five years, ranked as poverty capital of the world, with a frightening 23 percent unemployment rate; where over 90 million citizens live in abject poverty and many more living on less than N500 a day.
According to the PDP, “Our party stands with Nigerians in insisting that there is no way our compatriots can survive a N162 per liter fuel price and a N66 per kw/h of electricity in a country which, in the last five years, ranked as poverty capital of the world, with a frightening 23 percent unemployment rate; where over 90 million citizens live in abject poverty and many more living on less than N500 a day.
“Indeed, we find it very inconceivable that after the Federal Government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, confirmed that 90 million Nigerians are living in poverty, it still went ahead to increase the cost of essential commodities that drive our economy.
“Nigerians are already in trepidation that the excruciating price increase is a sudden death sentence on many citizens, particularly those living below poverty line, as they cannot survive under a worsened economic situation.
“Moreover, with a N30,000 federal monthly minimum wage, which represents a N1,000 ($2.1) daily wage, there is no way an average Nigerian can survive under the excessive fuel and electricity hike, with attendant increases in transportation and other operational costs, which will leave most citizens with nothing for food, medicines, house rents and other basic necessities of life”, it said.
The party reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that this hike will worsen the scary situation in the last five years, where compatriots are resorting to suicide, slavery mission abroad as well as selling of their children as options.
The PDP said that it finds it extremely cruel and insensitive for anybody, particularly, an official of the administration, to attempt to antagonize Nigerians “by comparing our nation to other countries where their Presidents are working hard in providing gainful employments, running productive economies and functional infrastructure, and where citizens boast of strong purchasing power”.
The PDP said therefore that it rejects the argument by the Minister of Information, Mohammed, that fuel price is lower in some West African countries, without presenting the contradictory economic settings in those countries and ours.
Continuing, the PDP, said, “Moreover, given our natural endowment, it is incontrovertible that Nigeria has always had cheaper fuel than her neighbours, It is however disgraceful that this Buhari administration, given its incompetence, extreme cluelessness as well as obnoxious and poverty inducing policies, has reduced Nigeria from the Giant of Africa to a West African ‘struggler’.
The PDP firmly held that nothing but immediate downward review of the cost of fuel and electricity can be acceptable under the current economic situation in our country.
Tlhe party said that President Buhari must know that the duty of every responsible government is to solve problems and not to inflict pain and invent justification for its own failures.
“On this fuel and electricity prices increase, the PDP, once again, charges President Buhari to end the grandstanding of his administration and listen to Nigerians”, it said.