By Elizabeth Osayande
Joint Action Front, JAF, has expressed disapproval over the new hike in prices of fuel, electricity and Value Added Tax, VAT, in the country.
The group also revealed plans to commence an indefinite nationwide protest beginning from September 16, to press home their anger.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos on Thursday, Secretary-General of JAF, Comrade Dipo Fashina, described the increase in fuel price from N145 to N162, as unfair and inconsiderate to the plight of Nigerians.
He also stated that the hike in prices is a product of the capitalist neo-liberal policies of privatisation and deregulation while calling for the immediate and unconditional reversal of petrol price from the N160 to the N86.50k.
Fashina explained that the Federal Government has a responsibility to ensure that refineries work in full capacity to ensure the availability of petroleum products at cheaper prices.
He attributed the bad state of the refineries to a deliberate policy aimed at looting the proceeds from the continuous importation of fuel.
According to him, “if Nigerians are to pay the international price of fuel, then pay Nigerians international standard of salary.
“We urge Nigerians across the country to hold mass meetings and sensitisation rallies to reject the latest hikes and struggle to defeat it, preparatory to the commencement of mass actions, which we agreed should commence demand;
“We call for a total reversal of the capitalist policies of privatisation and deregulation, which have been responsible for improper functioning of the local refineries, looting by government officials and fuel marketers through fuel importation and subsidies;
“And we also call for the collapse and fraudulent hand over to private profiteers of public enterprises, such as PHCN, NITEL, Nigeria Airways, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ajaokuta Steel, Osogbo Steel Rolling Mill, Itakpe Iron and Ore, and Tafawa Balewa Square.
“We insist that government should, in obedience to Section 16 of the 1999 Constitution on Economic Objectives, respects the provisions in Section 16 (1) (b) ‘control of the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare freedom and happiness of every citizen.’
“We appeal for massive public investments in industrialisation and infrastructure such as energy, rail, road, and mass.”
Present are the press conference were Professor Sylvester Akhain and Deputy Chairman, JAF, Achike Chude, among other comrades.