Nigeria’s opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told the Federal Government that Nigerians cannot afford the new fuel price and electricity tariff that came into effect last week.
The party, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the attempt by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to justify the excessive hike as affront to the Nigerian citizenry, who have already rejected the increases.
PDP noted that the cost of fuel rose from N87 per litre when it was in government, to N162 while electricity tariff increased from N30.23 per kwh to over N66kw/h. It stated that given the level of poverty the administration had already foisted on the nation, it would be difficult for Nigerians to survive the hike in the cost of fuel and electricity.
“Our party stands with Nigerians in insisting that there is no way our compatriots can survive a N162 per litre 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 per cent 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, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-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 price and electricity tariff 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,” PDP said.
The party told President Muhammadu Buhari that the hike would worsen the scary situation in the last five years, where Nigerians are resorting to suicide, slavery mission abroad as well as selling of their children as options
“Our party, therefore, finds it extremely cruel and insensitive for anybody, particularly, an official of this failed administration, to attempt to antagonise 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,” it said.
PDP disagreed with the minister that fuel price is lower in some West African countries, without presenting the contradictory economic settings in those countries and ours.
“Moreover, given our natural endowment, it is incontrovertible that Nigeria has always had cheaper fuel than her neighbours. “It is, however, disgrace ful 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 holds that nothing, but immediate downward review of the cost of fuel and electricity can be acceptable under the current economic situation in our country. “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 before it is too late,” the party demanded.