Chris Steven, Abuja
A civil society organization, Stand Up Nigeria, (SUN) has called on Nigerians to shun the threat by Senator Dino Melaye, to mobilize Nigerians to protest the pump price hike announced on Wednesday by the federal government.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who announced a new pump price of fuel of N145 per litre said the decision was taken at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting held at the office of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday.
The price increase has however generated different reactions from Nigerians.
Senator Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly gave the federal government 7-days ultimatum to reverse the new price of petrol.
Dino Melaye as well as labour unions in the country have issued several threats to the Federal Government on the new fuel price for a reversal since the new pump price of petrol was announced.
But SUN led by its National Coordinator, Comrade Philip Agbese, who spoke with newsmen on Friday in Abuja said it was most unfortunate that the rank of persons as led by the likes of Dino Melaye, have decided to take a break from defending corruption at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to demand that subsidy should be restored.
Agbese said it was also sad that a member of the National Assembly who was part of passage of a 2016 Appropriation Act (budget) that made no provisions for subsidy is asking that the practice should be sustained.
“An Appropriation Act is a law and the National Assembly exists to ensure the Executive does not spend outside the budget approved in the Act, we do not need legal expert to tell us that Dino Melaye is asking the Presidency to break the same law he passed as a lawmaker with his colleagues.
“We do not know the extent to which the notorious subsidy cabal has reached out to some paid activists but we know that it is time for Nigerians to remove Dino Melaye’s influence from public opinion same way subsidy has been removed from petrol.
“Even before the expiration of the ultimatum given by several groups including the one by Melaye, we want to sound this clearly that Nigerians are no longer subsidizing life of pleasure and luxury
“Nigerians are not intimidated by Melaye’s protests threats, if he wants cheap petrol, authorities have declared that anyone can import so he should use his salary and allowances from the Senate for such purposes”he said
“We similarly place the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Unions Congress (TUC) on notice that the present government’s commitment to fight corruption has altered the configurations and this is not 2012 Occupy Nigeria era.
“If there will be any protests, they will be solidarity marches in support of and to thank President Buhari for keeping to his promise of hitting at the heart of corruption, which we all know is the phantom petroleum subsidies.
“NLC and TUC would do well to be reminded of the aftermath of the Occupy Protests, their officials exploited it as opportunity to get juicy panel and committee appointments after they criminally hijacked and called off protests that they did not initiate.
The masses, who by the way are mostly in support of the federal government decision, will never again be used as bargaining chips by ambitious unionists”he said
SUN told the Federal Government and Presidency that the war is not over as the activities of the likes of Melaye, NLC, TUC and others have proven that the cabal will stop at nothing including sustained sabotage to get their fix of slush funds.
“We acknowledge with great satisfaction the decision of the Federal Government to finally and completely end payment of subsidy on petrol thereby ending years of the reign of kleptomanias that have stolen the country blind.
“This decision is timely as its effect will include fuel queues disappearing across the country in record time.
“The boldness to remove subsidy has confirmed that this government has listening ears by responding to the clamour of Nigerians who are tired of suffering the hardship of fuel shortages and long queues whenever the cabal decides to create artificial shortage to blackmail the government into parting with billions of public funds.
“We therefore salute President Muhammadu Buhari and his team for placing the interest of the masses above popularity”he said.