No to Fuel Price Hike; Down with the Oppressive Regime!

CORE Press Statement -12th March 2021

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Earlier today, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulation Agency (PPPRA) announced a sharp increase of fuel pump price to N212.16. Within hours the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) restated that there would be no increase, at least for now, and the PPPRA withdrew its earlier announcement.

The Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) regime of APC is simply testing the waters as PDP did a few times. Let us be clear, we will not be deceived.

We refuse to accept any planned increase of fuel and added burden in our already overburdened lives. And we reject the anti-poor people regime, which has only made increased the people’s hardships.

Just over six months ago, the regime increased petroleum products prices for three straight months rising from slightly over N121 naira per litre in June to over N143 naira in July, and then N150 naira in August, only to be increased once again to N162 naira in September.

At the same time electricity tariffs have been increased by over 150% threatening the fragile Nigerian manufacturing sector while the informal sector employing over 70% of the working population reels helplessly under the suffocating impacts of increased energy and production costs in a Covid pandemic period.

This trend of inhumane increments are not distinct acts. They are systemic and characteristic of the pro-rich people interests of those in power.

The governments at federal and state levels have continually done all that they can to make the poor masses bear the brunt of a systemic crisis that is not our making.

The Nigerian people have a history of stiff resistance to price increases, stretching back to 1988.

This is because of the painful impact of such fuel price increases on every aspect of our lives. The prices of almost everything, from transportation to foodstuffs increase!

The Buhari-led regime more than any of the governments before it, has gotten away with increasing fuel price. This is because Organised Labour’s leadership has refused to lead a fightback.

Enough is enough! This is one increase too many! It is time for the masses and all who support the people to put an end to the absurd situation of the petroleum economy in Nigeria.

It is the only OPEC country that imports refined petroleum – products because of the refusal to build refineries and fix the existing ones just so as to justify the privatization of these refineries.

It is telling that non – oil producing countries like South Africa have functioning crude oil refineries to satisfy local demands. Yet privatization historically, since 1986, has been one grand fraud through which trillion –  dollar public assets have been handed over to members of the ruling elites who strip them and render them moribund as has been the fate of over 300 ‘privatized’ firms since 1986.

We demand the immediate reversal of planned privatization of the refineries, immediate overhaul of existing refineries under close monitoring and full participation of working people and pro-working people experts such as Prof. Agbon Izilien, an oil industry expert who has been advocating for the necessity of Africa’s most populated country to be self – sufficient on petroleum products refining.

This is the only way to guarantee local refining of petroleum products, stop importation, incessant price hikes, save much needed foreign exchange being wasted on importation of refined petro products, provide hundreds of thousands of quality jobs and help transform the local economies of communities and states in the Niger Delta.

This is a time for the poor masses and youth to unite and fight. We call on workers to demand their leaders organise a nationwide general strike against any planned fuel pump price hike and for radical pro-masses reform of the oil and gas sector.

The Coalition for Revolution (CORE) and members of its affiliates across the country will mobilise mass street protests, as it is now apparent this regime cannot safeguard our lives.

It has instead, represented increased pauperisation of the poor. We must kick it out.

#BuhariMustGo!. Indeed “Buhari must go” is not enough. We must fight now for revolutionary change, to remove the whole bunch of blood suckers ruling us.

Baba AYE                                                                                      Gbenga KOMOLAFE

Co-convener                                                                                       Co-convener    

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