The hike in pump price of petrol has been described by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State as one of the “wicked gifts” of President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians to celebrate his one year in office, which he termed “a colossal waste”.
In a personally signed statement titled: “Petrol Price Increment as Buhari’s 1st Year Anniversary Gift to Nigerians”, Fayose claimed that the All Progressives Congress-led federal government was indirectly collecting N58.50 naira tax from suffering Nigerians on each litre of petrol they buy.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu on May 11, 2016 announced the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, effectively ending fuel subsidy. The move resulted in increment of pump price of petrol from N86.50 a litre to N145.
Last week, shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told State House correspondents that Nigeria was broke and one of the ways the administration could raise money in order to keep the country running, was to remove subsidy.
In his statement made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on Wednesday, Gov. Fayose, a renowned critic of Buhari and his party, APC, said despite the president’s electoral promise to reduce price of petrol from the N87 per litre that he met it, he (Buhari) instead jerked it up to N145, further impoverishing Nigerians.
The statement reads; “Nigerians should be reminded that on April 14, 2015, President Buhari’s ally and former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof. Tam David-West, told Nigerians that Gen. Mohammed Buhari (who was then President-elect), will reduce the fuel pump price from N87 to N40 per litre. Buhari did not debunk this statement made by his friend and major supporter.
“Also, when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of Dr Goodluck Jonathan reduced the petrol pump price from N97 to N87 per litre in January 2015, former Lagos State Governor who is now Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said N10 reduction of the petrol pump price was too low and that Nigerians will get a better deal under Buhari. Fashola tweeted on January 18, 2015; ‘On PMS price reduction by N10. Now they listen. Oil the raw material drop over 50%, N10 is just about 10%. Good try but Nija can get a beta deal’.
“In rewarding Nigerians for electing him as president, President Buhari opted to increase petrol pump price by N58.50!
“The first justification of the increment was removal of subsidy. But Nigerians were later stunned when the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo said pump price of petrol was increased because Nigeria was broke!
“In other words, President Buhari increased petrol pump price because the country was broke and it needed to shore up its revenue base. The N58.50 added to the previous pump price of N86.50 was an Indirect Tax imposed on each litre of petrol purchased by Nigerians.
“Simply put, the Federal Government is indirectly collecting N58.50 naira tax from suffering Nigerians on each litre of petrol they buy. Buhari is no doubt acting like the proverbial Agbalowomeri Baale Jontolo (A king that exploit his extremely poor subject to further enrich himself).
“It is on record that on May 2 this year, the federal government, in the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Template released in Abuja, told Nigerians that it was subsidising petrol at N12.62 per litre.
“In 2012 when the Dr Jonathan removed fuel subsidy and increased petrol price to N141 per litre, crude oil was selling at $111 per barrel.
“If not wickedness, how can petrol price be increased to N145 per litre when crude oil is now selling at $49 per barrel?
“Increasing petrol pump price by N58.50 when the federal government claimed it was subsidising the product at N12.62 per litre is clear wickedness on the part of President Buhari.
“In the history of Nigeria, increase in price of petrol has never been as high as it was done by Buhari, putting Nigerians in severe hardship as the product affects every sector of the economy.
“Nigerians, remember I warned you before Buhari was elected; I have been warning you since Buhari became president and I am warning now that if nothing is done urgently, the economy of Nigeria will collapse”.