By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
Members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers ( NURTW ) and the National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners & Riders Association (NACTOMORAS) have called on the Federal Government to return to the previous pump price of N87 per litre of petrol.
Addressing members of Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of pump price of petrol on Tuesday, they said in spite of all the increases in petrol pump price, the country has ended up with ” bad roads, power failure, unemployment, poverty, as well as medical care deterioration and high inflation of essential commodities.”
The President of NURTW, Alhaji Najeem Usman Yasin, who was represented by Mercy Ibeh (legal department) kicked against any planned hike in pump price and said the association rather prefers a downward review of the petrol price.
“Our position in in line with the position of every other stakeholders who have spoken in favour of a downward review of the pump prices. This position is based on the fact that having sat in this public hearing for the past two days, we’re not convinced that the current price of N145/ litre is justifiable, not to talk of attempt to increase it.
“What has been obvious in the two days sitting, is that there are cases of arbitrary charges. One speaker said yesterday is that there are all manners of charges from all manners of agencies. There is no doubt that these arbitrary charges somehow impact on the fuel prices, and of course, on the pockets of the masses.
“We’ve also seen that there is obviously high level corruption in high places, and this has truly impoverished the country and its people.
“NURTW is not in support and will not support any attempt at increasing the pump price beyond the current one,” the association said.
The National President of NACTOMORAS, Alhaji Muhd Sani Hassan in his presentation said: ” We write to object,,reject and disagree with any plan or move to increase the pump price of PMS fuel, without leniency,sympathy or consideration of the already depleted economic realities currently being experienced in the country.”
The association said there is hardship being “meted out to millions of Nigerian, most especially our members who are the grassroots transporters, with population of over 13,793, 150 in the country.”
According to Hassan of all the fuel increments made by government since 1973, only the one of 1994 benefitted the masses through the actions of the Petroleum Trust Fund ( PTF).
” Therefore, if the government wanted to maintain its good name…it should abandon the idea of increase of the price and revert to the old price of N87.00 per litre.
” in conclusion, we are saying a very “BIG NO” to any other attempt to add artificial hardship to the already persisting one,
Hassan urged “Mr.President to remember that these people that are the grassroots, are the people that voted him to office,” and that he has to feel the pains of the masses, “otherwise, another time is coming.”