The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, declared that there was no way Nigerians could survive the “obnoxious” fuel and electricity price hike announced by the Federal Government “given the level of poverty already foisted on the nation.”
It also described the attempt by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to justify the “excessive hike in the cost of fuel from N87 per liter under the PDP to N162, as well as electricity from N30.23 per kWh to over N66kw/h, as yet another daring and intolerable affront to the Nigerian citizenry.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party said it stands with Nigerians in “insisting that there is no way our compatriots can survive an N162 per liter fuel price and an N66 per kW/h of electricity in a country which, in the last five years, ranked as the poverty capital of the world, with a frightening 23 percent unemployment rate; where over 90 million citizens live in abject poverty, and many more living on less than N500 a day.”
“Indeed, we find it very inconceivable that after the Federal Government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, confirmed that 90 million Nigerians are living in poverty, it still went ahead to increase the cost of essential commodities that drive our economy,” PDP added.
The party observed that the people “are already in trepidation that the excruciating price increase is a sudden death sentence on many citizens, particularly those living below the poverty line, as they cannot survive under a worsened economic situation.”
It argued that with an “N30,000 federal monthly minimum wage, which represents an N1,000 ($2.1) daily wage, there is no way an average Nigerian can survive under the excessive fuel and electricity hike, with attendant increases in transportation and other operational costs, which will leave most citizens with nothing for food, medicines, house rents and other basic necessities of life.”
The PDP reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that “this hike would worsen the scary situation in the last five years, where compatriots are resorting to suicide, slavery mission abroad as well as selling their children as options.”
The party said it found it “extremely cruel and insensitive for anybody, particularly an official of this administration, to attempt to antagonize Nigerians by comparing our nation to other countries where their Presidents are working hard in providing gainful employments, running productive economies and functional infrastructure, and where citizens boast of strong purchasing power.”
It, therefore, rejected the argument by Mohammed that fuel price is lower in some West African countries, “without presenting the contradictory economic settings in those countries and ours.”
PDP urged the Nigerian leader to know that the “duty of every responsible government is to solve problems and not to inflict pain and invent justification for its own failures.”
“On this fuel and electricity price increase, the PDP, once again, charges President Buhari to end the grandstanding of his administration and listen to Nigerians before it is too late,” the party stated.