By Babs-Oluribigbe Adeoye
… Cautions FG On Water Resources Bill and hails ruling on P&ID
Coalition for A Better Nigeria has called on Nigerians for more understanding on recent increase in pump price of Premium Motor Spirits and as well advised the Federal Government to start thinking beyond frequent price hike and come up with a long term development programme to salvage the country’s battered economy.
The group in a statement signed by its National Co-ordinator, Comrade Awa Bamiji and made available to journalists on Tuesday said nothing wrong with subsidy removal of petroleum product, because it would go a long way, blocking the financial leakages.
Also commenting on electricity tariff hike by the Nigeria Electric Regulatory Commission (NERD), Bamiji noted that this is coming at a wrong time, considering the economic difficulties brought about by pandemic on the people.
The statement read thus, “Since discovery of fuel subsidy frauds, we, the Civil Society members, are the Advocates of fuel subsidy removal because we believe that it is the only way to block the financial leakages”.
“The Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) last Wednesday announced a new depot price of N151.56k for PMS against the N138.62k announced in August, and this has led to an increment in the pump price to between N160 and N163 in filling Stations across the States.
“Unfortunately, this and electricity tariff hike by the Nigeria Electric Regulatory Commission (NERD) are coming at a time when people are struggling with economic difficulties created within the context of the Post COVID – 19 economy, and the Federal Government appears resolute.
“According to the Government, the alternative is unstable supply of electricity and long queue at various filling Stations, with a litre selling at exorbitant price.
“We are now into full deregulation where market will determine prices and this will prevent the return of subsidies and operators will recover their costs.
Bamiji however believed the government action would at the long run, encourage investments and jobs creation.
He added, “It is really a tough decision by the government which was taken at the beginning of the year preceeding coronavirus pandemic but due to sensitivity of the Government, its implementation had to be delayed till this point because of the attendant grave consequences of coronavirus pandemic”.
Meanwhile the group has condemned in strong term the controversial National Water Resources Bill, describing it as illegal and anti federalism.
On recent court ruling by UK court, granting Nigeria extension of time to challenge $10billion arbitration claim by Process & Industrial Developments Limited, Bamiji applauded the judgement, adding that it had saved Nigeria from paying $10 huge sum of money out of its learn purse to “dubious Irish persons”
“We raise our voice in concert with the prominent groups and individuals in the Country to condemn the National Water Resources Bill that seeks to bring all water sources (surface and underground) as well as river banks under the Federal Government because it is illegal and anti federalism.
“We hail the ruling of the High Court of England granting Nigeria’s application for extension of time to appeal the arbitral award in favour of process and industrial development.
“Otherwise, Nigeria would pay $10 billion out of its learn purse to “dubious Irish persons”
In another development, the group applauded the unanimous decision of the Travis County, Texas, for naming a Nigeria American born University of Vigirnia Law Professor, Adeola Ogunkeyede, as its first Chief Public Defender.
Ms Ogunkeyede, who hails from Ilase, Obokun Local Government, Osun State is a daughter of an activist and international human rights’ advocate, Otunba Olajumoke Ogunkeyede (JMK).
The CABN also congratulated an Accounting doyen, Chief Olusegun Oladipo Osunkeye, former MD/CEO of Nestle Nig Plc and Babalaje of Egbaland and Cardinal James Odunbamku (Baba Eto) on their 80th and 73rd birthdays respectively.