A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has appealed to the Federal Government to rescind its plan to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CSOs are collaborating with the People’s Alternative Movement (PAM), Nigeria to prevail on the government to shelve the idea.
The South-South, Zonal Coordinator of PAM, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, made the appeal on Friday during a peaceful protest by CSOs in Benin.
Obayuwana, a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in Edo, said a hike in petrol price at this period would worsen the current economic difficulties in the country.
He said that a lot of homes were struggling to feed, in addition to the educational needs of their children.
He said it was regrettable that parents, who struggled to send their children to school, still fend for them, even after their graduation because of the lack of employment.
“It is painful that even as bad as the situation is, the government is proposing a hike in fuel pump price.
Obayuwana recommended the fixing of the nation’s refineries to refine the crude to meet local comsumption.
He said: “The nation’s economic situation right now is very difficult, hence most parents are losing control over their children.
“How can a parent, who cannot put food on the table for his children, have control over them?
“Many people are desparatley travelling abroad not minding what would befall them. They feel convinced that anywhere outside Nigeria will be better.
“What we have resolved is to speak out. Nigerians must speak up.
“If we do not speak up, those we elected into office would think that everything is ok.
“They don’t pay for fuel, they don’t pay for electricity and this is what has led us to the present situation.
“We are saying the crude oil is owned by us and that it should be refined here in Nigeria.
“We have four refineries, they should be fixed to refine our crude.
“We say in simple term, refine Nigeria oil in Nigeria,” Obayuwana said.
Also, Rev. Fr Benedict Onwugbemi, the Coordinator, Justice Development and Peace Commission, Catholic Church, advised government to take measures to end the current hardship in the country.
“It is not what politicians promised to Nigerians that they are getting today,” Onwugbemi said.
The Executive Director, Initiative for Gender Equality and Advancement, Annie Umoru, said that the country urgently needed to be restructured.
NAN reports that the protesters carried placards with different inscriptions, such as “fix our refineries,” “no electricity price hike,” “refine Nigeria’s oil in Nigeria,” “reverse all privatisation,” and “no to more hardship,” amongst others.
They also chanted different solidarity songs to drive home their message. (NAN)