Femi Falana, a Senior Nigerian lawyer cum Human Rights Activist, stated on Sunday that the Federal Government is empowered by law to set fuel rates in the nation.
The rights activist refuted Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, in a statement that was personally signed, saying that the government was powerless to address the kerosene price situation.
He said: “Kerosene, which is the fuel for the average household, is already a deregulated product. It is not necessarily within the purview of the government but a now a commercial decision. Companies will import and sell kerosene at a commercial rate. It is a deregulated product.”
However, Falana insisted that the government is backed by Section 4 of the Price Control Act and section 316 of the Petroleum Industry Act to determine and fix the prices of petroleum products Including petrol, kerosene, and cooking gas.
He also accused the government of deregulating kerosene without the knowledge of Nigerians.
The lawyer said: “With respect, the purported deregulation of the product was illegally pushed out by the Buhari administration.
“It is common knowledge that the Federal Government, through the NNPC is the sole importer of fuel into the country, claiming to be subsidising the product. So how can the Federal Government turn around to allow private companies or the so-called market forces to fix the price of the same product?
“In July 2020, Chief Sylva said that an alternative source of fuel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) would cost between N95 to N97 per litre, to make fuel more affordable in the country. About a year later, it was disclosed by the minister that as part of efforts to ensure that the autogas conversion of vehicles yielded the desired results, the Federal Government had set aside N250 billion for willing investors in autogas assembly plants in the country. The Federal Government should tell Nigerians why the migration from PMS to CNG has been abandoned.”