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27th June 2003

Joint Action Council Against Hike In Fuel Price (JACAHFP)

FIGHT THE HIKE IN FUEL PRICE

For the third time in just over four years the Obasanjo regime has again increased the pump price of petroleum products from N26 per litre for petrol to N40 per litre, while kerosene and diesel are to sell for N38 per litre each.

This current increment marks the fourth time when an Obasanjo government will be arbitrarily increasing the pump price of petroleum products. The first being on October 1, 1978, the second, June1, 2000, the third January1, 2002 and the present one announced on 20th June, 2003.

The traditional excuse for all these increases has always been the need to remove the ever present government "subsidy" on petroleum products and make petroleum products available. An excuse which has been shown over time to be patently false.

While the prices of petroleum products have been increased on about thirteen occasions between 1974 and 2002 from 84/5 kobo to N26 per litre (representing a percentage increase of 29,445.46%) the minimum wage of the very few Nigerians lucky to be in employment have been increased on only four occasions (representing a mere 9,666.67%) thereby further leaving the vast majority of working masses in hunger, poverty, penury, ignorance, disease and impoverishment.

Whereas Nigerians have been continuously made to pay more for fuel year in year out, the trend in most advanced countries of the world has been the exact opposite with consumers having to pay comparatively lower prices over the years in these countries.

For example, in the United State of America (USA) in 1981 a litre of petrol sold for 35 cents a litre while the same litre of petrol sold for 31 cents in January, 2002. In Canada a litre of petrol in 1990 sold for 47 cents while same was sold for 35 cents in 1998, in Japan in 1990 a litre of petrol was 79 cents while in 1998 it sold for 71 cents, the same thing for Taiwan where a litre of petrol sold was 62 cents in 1990 and 48 cents in 1998. In Nigeria on the other hand, a litre of fuel which stood at 151/3 kobo as at 1981 had, by 1990, gone up to 60 kobo and by 1999 become N20 per litre.

Instead of repairing the nation's four refineries on which Obasanjo claimed to have spent a whooping $900 million dollars on, the government have been importing fuel into the country through their friends, families, multinational corporations and making millions of dollars in profit at the expense of the Nigerian masses.

Obasanjo must not be allowed to get away with this crime. Nigerians must arise to reject the increase because:

- The reasons given for the increase is the same perennial, recycled and false reasons that have been adduced for previous increases by the Obasanjo regime and past governments.

- Contrary to the rosy pictures of expected gains being painted by government over this counter-productive and World Bank/IMF inspired policy, the increment as usual will lead to further economic depression with its attendant widespread poverty amongst the people.

The current increment will surely worsen the unemployment situation and this with the attendant escalation of crimes of all sorts. Already, price of transportation has gone up by as much as 100% in many places. The prices of other goods and services will certainly go up.

- The logic behind the increase appears to be to inflict further pains on the Nigerian masses, make life more miserable for them and make more money available for looting and stealing by those in government and oil merchants

- If Obasanjo gets away with this crime, he will be further emboldened to implement other anti-poor and anti-masses policies like commercialization of education, privatisation of NEPA, NITEL, scrapping of local governments etc.

The Joint Action Council Against Hike In Fuel Price (JACAHFP), calls on the masses - workers, market women, okada riders, commercial vehicle operators, students, artisans and all the oppressed masses to come out en masse on Monday, 30th June, 2003 and say a categorical no to the increment in the prices of petroleum products.

We call on the Nigerian people to demand and call for-

  • Total and immediate cancellation of the increment.

  • Immediate and full reactivation of the nation's refineries.

  • Immediate and genuine war on corruption in the petroleum and other sectors of the economy.

  • Immediate mass resistance against the callous and unjustifiable increment.

  • Immediate resignation of Obasanjo and Atiku, all state governors and recycled public officers who support the present hike in prices of petroleum products.

  • The immediate convocation of a genuinely democratically elected Sovereign National Conference (SNC).

WHAT TO DO

1) Participate and take active part in the protests in your street/neighbourhood by ensuring the enforcement of the peaceful protest

2) Put in place an Action committee in your street/neighbourhood.

3) Ensure that the protests do not degenerate into violence or hijacked by hoodlums.

4) Educate people and spread the message of the protest action in your neighbourhood.

5) In case of any arrest or police brutality in your area, get in touch with the Joint Action Council Against Hike In Fuel Price (JACAHFP) through the following phone numbers- 08023133045, 08023180522, 08033080526, 08034723625, 08033219272, 08033044617, 080232246233, 08033147440, 08033044618, 08034046272


Sponsored by - National Conscience Party (NCP), Committee For Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Moshood Abiola Vanguard For Democracy (MAVD), National Voice of Democrats (NVD), Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADL), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D, Centre For Free Speech (CFS), Campaign for Independent Unionism (CIU), Persons with Disabilities Network (PEDANET), Code Red Foundation (CRF), Democracy Volunteers (DV)

Lagos 27th June 2003