By Iduozee Paul, Benin
Because of the increase in petroleum and electricity prices, some civil society organizations in Edo State have protested against the hikes in Benin city, calling on President Mohammed Buhari to reverse the hikes.
The protesters who came to the NUJ Press Centre bore various inscriptions including, “No to Electricity Hike Price”, “No to Fuel Price Hike”, “Nigeria belongs to all of Us”, “ To hate the Poor is a Sin” and many others.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, former attorney general of the Edo State and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Osagie Obayuwana has called on President Muhammdu Buhari to reverse the price.
“We are here to protest the increased of fuel and electricity hike. We are offended that the President Buhari said he has the audacity that we should expect more increase. It is unfortunate that he and his collaborators can put us in pain.
“It cannot work; Nigeria people are saying no more increase in fuel and electricity price. How can the President turn over 20O million Nigerians into a target or market, to please his friends and relatives. Every house and office has been turned to BEDC for extortion.
“They choose what they are going to charge the masses; they make us pay even though they didn’t give us light. Nigeria has not made any progress as far as electricity is concerned. They are making billions of naira and make us pay for darkness. When we are contending with that, people are forcing us to use generator.
“No journalist can work without power, so also other people. We have been exporting crude oil since 1958; President Muhammdu Buhari during his campaign boasted he will build one refinery every year as part of fixing the existing refineries. Has he done that? No.
“The failure to fix our refinery is to pave way for business to his friends and relatives. What has been done in the electricity sector is what they want to do in the petroleum sector”.
He said by failing to protect the people from exploitation, Buhari has breached the Constitution
“The Constitution forbids the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few by privatizing electricity supply.
President Buhari has violated the Constitution by seeking to privatize the petroleum industry, is also in the process of violating that same section of the Constitution”
He said a new Nigeria is waking up to challenge the exploitation.
“For anybody to imagine that we Nigerians will continue to tolerate this is impossible. This is a movement that a new Nigeria is in a process of being born. We are sending this word to President Muhammdu Buhari to reverse the electricity and fuel hike.
“If these demands are not meant, we will show President Buhari that he is a public servant; that we are the government by serving him a notice and we shall declare civil disobedience of highest order. We feel the pain and we cannot tolerate the oppression,” Obayuwana said.
Responding to the protesters, NUJ chairman, Comrade Roland Osakwe, assured them that they are fighting for all Nigerians. He said the media will join in the struggle.
Comrade Osakwe described the increase in fuel and electricity price as a shame of the nation democracy.