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Afenifere backs NLC

By John Ighodaro, Vanguard, Friday 9 June 2000

LAGOS THE pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere has condemned the recent hike in fuel prices, saying the reason given by the Federal Government for the increase has exposed the failure of the PDP-led government.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday in Lagos, the leader of Afenifere, Senator Abraham Adesanya said, we have given due consideration to the arguments for and against price hike as formulated by the Federal Government and the workers respectively.

On our part, we are convinced that the 50 per cent increase in pump price is unacceptable on all grounds.

We hereby declare that the price hike is unjustified because the state and stereotyped argument that hiking the price will reduce smuggling to neighbouring countries has proven illogical, unrealistic and unimaginative.

We like to remind Nigerians that PDP government by resorting to price hiking to prevent smuggling has proven itself incapable of protecting the territorial borders and integrity of Nigeria. A government that's worth its bidding should not attempt to impose greater hardship on Nigerians as a result of its inability to govern efficiently and effectively.

Afenifere further argued that resorting to a price hike to prevent smuggling also amount to punishing the many who are innocent and poor for the sins of the few who are greedy, criminal and rich.

Afenifere wishes to state clearly that after its very wide consultations with experts and knowledgeable people, we are recommending that Nigeria should immediately work out the modality for the construction of fuel stations in all these West African nations. Through the ECOWAS framework, it should not be difficult to accomplish this recommendation because it will make petroleum available to the ECOWAS counties at almost the same price with Nigeria and it will reduce smuggling to a tolerable level.

Afenifere further reasoned that the price hike is insensitive while the timing is immoral as political office holders have just awarded themselves multi-million naira salaries.

The fact of the matter is that the Nigerian workforce has had its plight worsened because even though the salary increase was about 35 per cent, the current 50 per cent hike in oil price has left an average worker poorer now.

Afenifere also condemned the state pardon granted the former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.

According to them, Afenifere regards the state pardon granted the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Salisu Buhari at the same time with credible pro-democracy activists, journalists and others who were framed up in the phantom coup saga of 1995 as highly regrettable and unfortunate. We believe that the announcement of the exercise of pardon for Buhari and those others amounted to unacceptable derogation from the heroic struggle of these illegally convicted Nigerians. Sufficient time has not elapsed between the conviction and the pardon for Alhaji Buhari to show enough remorse. This is political cynicism at its worst.