By Tony Akowe, Abuja
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank has asked the National Assembly to cut short its annual vacation and take a definite stand in support of the Nigerian people in relation to the recent hike in electricity tariff and price of petrol.
Frank also want organised labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as civil society organisations to mobilise Nigerians to resist these increase which he said will further bring untold hardship to Nigerians.
He reminded the lawmakers that the 7th National Assembly stood solidly behind Nigerians in 2012 when fuel was increased from N65.00 to N140.00 by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
In a statement in Abuja, Frank condemned the increase in the price of petrol from N148.50 to N151.56 per litre by the Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and electricity tariff from N22.00 to N66.00 per kilowatt by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) despite directive by the National Assembly not to do so.
He said that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigerian (PENGASSAN), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Median Association (NMA), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) must up and defend weak, poor and helpless masses in the face of this massive and unbearable onslaught against their being.
He said “The NLC has rejected the price increase through a statement. It is now time for the Ayuba Wabba leadership of the Union to match their words with action on the streets just like ex-NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, did in collaboration with the Change Nigeria Group (CNG) in 2012″.
He said that the fuel price and electricity tariff increase are not tenable at a time when crude oil prices have plummeted internationally and while majority of Nigerians who are unmetered are languishing under the yoke of estimated billing respectively.
He said “The action of the Federal Government in hiking the prices of essentials goods and services, like fuel and electricity, is tantamount to removing economic ventilators from majority of Nigerians on life support.
“This is manifestly anti-God, anti-people, unacceptable, provocative, oppressive, insensitive, wicked, satanic and a total negation of the social contract between a people and its Government”.
He stressed that since the primary function of Government is to seek the welfare and security of its citizens, the Federal Government must as a matter of urgency increase the nation’s minimum wage to N100,000.00 to mitigate its induced rise in the cost of living.
He asked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to urgently reverse the increases as well as reduce its over- bloated cost of governance by 50 per cent in order to conserve scarce resources.
He said “The duty of Government is to shield its people, especially the poor and vulnerable population, from the harsh effects of market forces and not to heap pain and anguish on them under the guise of full deregulation.
“Why have they chosen to increase the burdens of Nigerians rather than lighten them?
Why have they chosen to give Nigerians stones instead of bread? Why have they chosen to give Nigerians snakes instead of fish?
“It is dangerous for the Federal Government to aid a tiny cabal in preying on the people in order to satisfy their ostentatious cravings,” Frank said.