Human rights lawyer Femi Falana says only President Bola Tinubu has the power to fix the pump price of petrol.
The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) recently adjusted the price of petrol across its retail outlets following Tinubu’s announcement that subsidy is gone. It said the adjustment is in line with market realities.
But on Friday, Falana faulted the move, saying only the Federal Government has the power to fix the price of the product. Since the current government is yet to appoint a minister of petroleum, such responsibility now rests with President Tinubu, he argued.
“The NNPC has metamorphosed into a limited liability company. It is now NNPC Limited. To that extent, NNPC like Total, Exxon Mobil, and Shell operating in the oil industry, cannot announce an increase in the prices of petroleum products. That duty is vested in the government and that is what I mean [saying their action is illegal],” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today, citing a Federal High Court, Abuja judgement that says only the government can fix the prices of petroleum products.
“So, you ask the NNPCL: ‘Where have you got the powers to fix the prices of petroleum products, or the price of petrol, this time around, from N185 thereabouts to N540?’ So, how? The clarification is important,” the legal luminary said.
According to him, the argument that the new prices were dictated by market forces is flawed.
“No,” he maintained, “the visible market forces cannot under the Nigerian Consitution and under the PIA fix the prices of petroleum.”
“Under the current situation, we have found ourselves – since ministers have not been appointed and the President is running the country – only the president [Tinubu] can so decide for now because you have the Price Control Act. You have the PIA,” Falana maintained.
“There is no provision in our law for market forces to determine the prices of any product in the country.”