The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday said there was no way Nigerians could survive the obnoxious hike in the cost of fuel and electricity, as currently imposed by the Buhari administration, given the level of poverty the administration had already foisted on the nation.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the brazen attempt by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to justify the excessive hike in the cost of fuel from N87 per litre 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, “who have summarily rejected the increases.”
“Our party stands with Nigerians in insisting that there is no way our compatriots can survive a N162 per liter fuel price and a N66 per kw/h of electricity in a country which, in the last five years, ranked as 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,” the PDP said.
The main opposition party in the country further stated that Nigerians were already in trepidation that the excruciating price increase was a sudden death sentence on many citizens, particularly those living below poverty line, as they could not survive under a worsened economic situation.
The party added that with a N30,000 federal monthly minimum wage, which represented a N1,000 ($2.1) daily wage, there was no way an average Nigerian could survive under the excessive fuel and electricity hike, with attendant increases in transportation and other operational costs, which would leave most citizens with nothing for food, medicines, house rents and other basic necessities of life.
The PDP reminded President Buhari that this hike would worsen the scary situation in the last five years, where compatriots were resorting to suicide, slavery mission abroad as well as selling of their children as options.
“Our party therefore finds it extremely cruel and insensitive for any body, particularly, an official of this failed 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,” the party said.
PDP therefore said that it rejected the highly irrational argument by the Minister of Information, Mohammed, that fuel price was lower in some West African countries, without presenting the contradictory economic settings in those countries and ours.
“Moreover, given our natural endowment, it is incontrovertible that Nigeria has always had cheaper fuel than her neighbours, It is however disgraceful that this Buhari administration, given its incompetence, extreme cluelessness as well as obnoxious and poverty inducing policies, has reduced Nigeria from the Giant of Africa to a West African ‘struggler’,” PDP added.
The party said it firmly held to the view that nothing but immediate downward review of the cost of fuel and electricity could be acceptable under the current economic situation in the country.
It said President Buhari must know that the duty of every responsible government was to solve problems and not to inflict pain and invent justification for its own failures.
“On this fuel and electricity prices increase, the PDP, once again, charges President Buhari to end the grandstanding of his administration and listen to Nigerians before it is too late,” PDP said.