A coalition of northern groups on Friday rejected the recent increase in the ex-depot price of petrol and electricity tariff by the Federal Government.
They are demanding the immediate and unconditional reversal of the new pump price to the initial N145 per litre and electricity tariff to N23, with the assurance of regularity and a higher quantity of supply.
The groups also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the blame game and face the responsibility of his office to offer good governance to the people who voted him to power.
They accused the President of being desperate to shift the blame for the poor economic situation in the country which they described as proof of failure to provide good leadership.
The spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, made the position of the group known at a news conference in Kaduna State.
He said increasing the pump price of petrol at a time when nations were doing more to subsidise costs of essentials in line with citizens’ purchasing power, was highly insensitive, callous and an indication that the Federal Government has lost the courage to assume sole responsibility for the regulation and control of market forces at the detriment of ordinary citizens.
According to him, the present administration has been tolerated for too long by the Nigerian masses, even with its purported level of impunity in the dispatch of goods and services which have gravely endangered the peace, unity, and development of the country.
Suleiman stated that the group would not hesitate to mobilise Nigerians for a nationwide protest in the coming days, should the Federal Government fail to reverse the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
A statement, which was issued at the end of the briefing, read:
Unfolding events around the national economy, security, general cost of survival in Nigeria in the past few days, have once again sparked serious concerns over the direction the country is heading.
In particular, the recent announcement of the Federal Government’s decision to hike the prices of such essentials as petroleum products and electricity have ignited widespread discontent and anger across every segment of the Nigerian society.
Concerned about this mounting national anger, the Coalition of Northern Groups met in Kaduna to review the alarming rise in the cost of living in the face of pervasive poverty and fast-spreading general insecurity of lives and property.
In light of this development and the unfolding scenario in the country that is pregnant with unforeseen circumstances, the CNG observes as follows:
That whereas the present administration had upon inception identified economic revival and security as major components of the three pillars of its change agenda, its entire national economy and law and order assets appear incapable of arresting an imminent drift towards poverty and the likelihood of the setting in of anarchy.
That the government’s mismanagement of an economy already adjudged in a second recession is characterized by the significant loss of output, massive youth unemployment, a rising level of poverty, instability, and irregular migration of skilled and unskilled labour.
That despite the administration’s claims to fighting a war against corruption, the entrenchment of mediocrity has left the country worse than it was five years ago in the global corruption perception index.
That the present administration had been tolerated for too long even with its level of impunity in the dispatch of goods and services which gravely endanger the peace, unity, and development of the country.
That the administration’s audacious impunity climaxed with hikes in fuel pump prices from an initial N87 to N151.50k per litre; electricity tariff from N22 to N66; and Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5% from 5%.
That these unjustified and unjustifiably indiscriminate increases with concomitant effects on life-sustaining essentials like foodstuff and foreign exchange rates have resulted in the exponential escalation of inflation, despair, crime, and criminality.
On the basis of the foregone critical observations, the CNG hereby resolves to:
Call on the federal government to announce an immediate and unconditional reversal of the prices of fuel to the earlier N145 per litre and electricity tariff to N23 with the assurance of regularity in quality and quantity of supply, assume full control of commodity pricing, jettison all aspects of unwarranted taxation, halt the current multi-sectoral extortions by multinational service providers, banks and other financial institutions.
Direct all our state chapters to mobilise other civil society and pressure groups in their states and address individual petitions demanding an immediate and unconditional review to their respective state governments or houses of assembly for transmission to the presidency.
CNG national secretariat is to engage the National Assembly, the Federal Government, and all relevant national and international agencies to force a reversal of these imposed harsh realities.
Put the public on the alert for a possible prolonged nationwide resistance in the likely event of government opting to grandstand.