Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said the fuel scarcity experienced in parts of the country was tactical way of making Nigerians accept an increase in fuel price.
Lambasting President Muhammadu Buhari, the group said “government is apparently satisfied with the extortion by fuel markers at filling stations, with some selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for as high as N500 per litre to desperate motorists and Nigerians whose lives and businesses depend on petrol – either for their vehicles or for generating sets to power their businesses.”
HURIWA said it was unfortunate that for about two months now, the “fuel crisis caused by the criminal importation and distribution of dirty petrol has not abated despite the monopoly of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company.”
The group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, yesterday, recalled that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government in January, 2022, after overwhelming public outcry, said it had suspended the planned petrol subsidy removal expected to kick off by June this year.
“Just days after, adulterated petrol hit the distribution channels in the country, making petrol to consequently be in short supply. For about two months, long, snake-like queues have dotted filling stations all over the country with attendant spike in transport fares and inflation on goods and services, making life unbearably hard for Nigerians,” HURIWA said.
The group said, “It is very unfortunate that despite the months-long queues and scarcity, the same NNPC officials under whose watch the scandal happened are the same persons grandstanding and purporting to be solving the gigantic problem they created. One report said NNPC requires N201billion to clean up its mess.
“The president, who doubles as the minister of petroleum resources should have sacked all executives at NNPC by now for blatant failure. Buhari himself should shamefully resign his strategic portfolio and appoint a competent fellow. The present moribund refineries seven years into Buhari’s tenure is also shameful and the cause of the current hardship.
“It is curious that days after announcing that it had suspended the planned petrol subsidy removal, adulterated fuel hit the country and petrol scarcity followed. HURIWA strongly believe that the whole charade is a tactical way of blackmailing Nigerians to accept fuel price adjustment by government. The fuel queues have been perennial and dangerous scenarios have been seen with young boys everywhere wielding jerry cans of fuel that poses heavy risks to the lives of Nigerians.
“The corruption in the administration of fuel subsidy since Muhammadu Buhari came is one of the major reasons for the humongous amount spent as subsidy without accountability. Nigerians must take steps to compel the government to end the fuel scarcity by staging civil disobedience acts such as blocking federal and state government houses with their cars instead of waiting endlessly in filling stations for fuel. The failure of Nigerians to opt for civil disobedience and protests is the cause of the deterioration of the economic crises in Nigeria, including widening spectre of corruption by government officials.
“Nigerians must take their destinies into their hands and wrestle it from the fist of corrupt and selfish politicians. With high costs of living, ballooning poverty, unemployment of youths that has led to irregular migration, it is high time Nigerians take their fate into their hands and use legitimate and constitutional means to force the hands of government to change the negative policies inflicting pains on Nigerians.”
Nigeria To Observe Low Key Independence Day Anniversary -FG
Unlike those before it, Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day observance will not feature a ceremony at the Eagle Square, Abuja, but will be held “low-key,” the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, has disclosed.
Akume revealed this to State House Correspondents after he emerged from a closed-door meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said October 1 would be “a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people and the journey forward.”
The former Minister of Special Duties, who was reluctant to reveal details of the issues discussed, said it bordered on plans for the Independence Day.
“Independence is a historic event for any country and we Nigerians are no exemptions. c
“We are fully prepared for celebrations and for obvious reasons, it is going to be low-key and we are wishing Nigerians the best of luck and I want to assure them that better days are coming and pretty soon too,” he noted. c
On the modalities of this year’s edition, Akume said, “This is going to be low key; we are not going on fantastic jamboree at the Eagle Square and other locations.
“It’s a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people. This journey is being charted by the captain of the ship.”
On what the government would do concerning the Labour Unions’ 21-day ultimatum that ended yesterday, he said, “Labour leaders are very patriotic Nigerians and we want to believe correctly that nobody will want to cause a strike.
“It’s not in the interest of the workers; it’s not in the interest of anybody because this government is very determined to ensure a good standard of living for Nigerians and to create prosperity for all.
“It’s not something that can be done overnight. This government came into being on May 29 and we have a tenure of four years. So, it will be inappropriate for us to begin to judge based on the few months we have spent in the office.”
The organised labour had on September 1 issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over the delay in sharing palliatives, saying it might be compelled to declare an indefinite labour action if its demands were not met.
It said all is set for a total shutdown of the economy, which would start at the expiration of the ultimatum on Friday.
Among other demands, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances for the public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.
Though the Federal Government committed to restructuring the framework for engagement with organised labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of the process expired in August with no action.
Work Begins On Eleme-Onne Road As FG Releases N33bn
Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, has said that the Federal Government has committed N33billion to a giant construction company, RCC, to commence work on the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
Umahi, revealed this information during his inspection of the project and various other Federal Government initiatives within the state, yesterday.
Speaking from the Eleme-Onne road construction site, Umahi pointed out that President Bola Tinubu had tasked him with a working visit to evaluate the ongoing work.
He pointed out that this project gained significance after the president’s discussions with Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike.
“This road from Eleme to Onne Port, the Rivers State people led by Governor Siminalayi Fubara and former governor Nyesom Wike led delegation to come and see the president.
“The president directed that I should immediately come here and ensure that work has started.
“The President has released N33billion for this project to RCC for them to start,” he said.
Justice Mary Odili Institute Trains Magistrates In Rivers
The Justice Mary Odili Institute has organised a training programme for the newly appointed magistrates in the Rivers State Judiciary for effective service delivery and enhanced performance.
The Institute was established by the State government in conjunction with the state Judiciary for the training and capacity-building of Judiciary workers across the state.
Speaking while declaring open the two-day capacity-building workshop /training with the theme “The Magistrates: Navigating The Path Of Justice,”the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi charged the newly appointed magistrates of Rivers State Judiciary to brace up to the challenges of their responsibilities and ensure that justice was served for all irrespective of their societal status .
He urged them to abide by the principles and doctrines of impartiality in law, stressing that respect for the law forms the bedrock on which the judicial system stands.
He stressed on the importance of training and capacity-building in job performance and urged them to take the two-day training seriously in order to deliver on their mandates.
Amadi described the roles performed by the magistrates in the administration of justice as pivotal and urged them to remain resolute in the discharge of their duties.
The CJ urged them to be committed to justice delivery and assured them that the newly built Magistrates Court would be put to use by next month.
The number one State Judicial officer further expressed optimism that the workshop would expose the newly appointed magistrates to divers perspectives and innovative approaches that would enhance their job delivery .
Earlier in her opening speech, the Administrator of Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, Justice Anwuri Ken-Chikwere emphasized the need to regularly train and empower the new magistrates on the rules of legal practice, even as she encouraged them to be committed to their job.
By: Akujobi Amadi
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