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‘Ijaw communities worse hit by fuel price hike’

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From Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has decried the hike in prices of petroleum products, describing it as insensitive to the plight of Ijaw.

President of IYC Peter Igbifa, in a statement on Thursday, said Ijaw communities were worse hit because of their peculiar geographical locations.

Igbifa argued the decision to remove subsidies on fuel was done without ensuring facilities to ameliorate the negative effects of such action on vulnerable communities in Ijawland.

According to him, the government should have waited till some modular refineries were completed, moribund refineries rehabilitated and floating petrol stations revived.

Igbifa said prior to the hike, Ijaw communities were buying the product outside regulated prices because of unavailability of fuel stations in their areas.

He lamented that prices of petroleum products had become outrageous with the latest increase in prices.

He noted that with the hike, many might go into refining crude to make products available in coastal communities.

“IYC rejects the increase of prices of petroleum products. It is ill-timed. Our coastal communities are the worse hit and we are asking the Federal Government to reconsider its position…

“We believe that before full deregulation is implemented in the petroleum sector, the government must put some prerequisite facilities in place. Such facilities must include reviving all floating petrol stations, full rehabilitation and optimum operations of the moribund Warri and Port Harcourt refineries, and completion of other modular refineries in Niger Delta.

“Anything outside ensuring that we have self-sufficiency in refining crude oil produced in this country amounts to putting the cart before the horse and we totally reject it.”

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