A coalition of civil society organizations under the umbrella of the Coalition to Save Nigeria (CSN), yesterday called for the resignation of President Goodluck Jonathan over the planned fuel subsidy removal.
The group who made the call yesterday in Benin City during a town hall meeting held at the NUJ Press Centre, said contrary to claims by the federal government that it was subsidizing fuel, it was revealed in Benin, the Edo State capital yesterday that Nigerians were already over-paying for fuel, as the actual cost of a litre of petrol ought to be ₦39.50k.
The town hall meeting was composed of NLC, NBA, NMA, civil society organizations, professional bodies, students, market women and artisans.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said: “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 said.
It said 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.
The group said that “the government could no longer be trusted because they have repeatedly told so many and the same lies, over and over again, called for downward review of pump price of fuel to ₦39.50k 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.
Earlier in his speech, former ASSU president, Festus Iyayi, gave reasons why Nigerians should not accept fuel price increase, saying that the petroleum products market has since been fully deregulated.
Besides, he argued that Nigeria being 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.
Mr Iyayi gave a comparison of the pump prices of petrol in fellow OPEC countries member as Saudi Arabia ₦18.00; Kuwait ₦32; United Arab Emirate ₦57; Venezuela ₦17; Qatar ₦34; Iran ₦17, and Algeria ₦31.
While saying that fuel price has been increased 18 times in the country, he 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 are parasites who take over what government has built. We have over 100 Nigerians who own private jets. Where did they get the money from,” Mr Iyayi said.
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 ₦1 billion, which according to him, translated to ₦2.4 million a day.
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