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Falana to FG: Tell Nigerians if fuel subsidy has been restored

Femi Falana Femi Falana

Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has challenged the federal government to confirm or deny if petrol subsidy has been restored.

During his inauguration on May 29, 2023, President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of the petrol subsidy.

This development has worsened the living conditions of Nigerians, as the disposable income of citizens continues to decline due to inflation.

In a statement on Sunday, Falana said Robert Dickerman, chief executive officer of Pinnacle Oil, claimed at a conference in Abuja that the federal government still pays N1 trillion every month for petrol subsidy.

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The human rights activist said instead of urging Nigerians to continue to endure the hardship caused by the removal of subsidies on petrol, the president should go public about the state of the economic policy.

“During his inauguration on May 29, 2003, President Bola Tinubu announced the end of fuel subsidies and total deregulation of petroleum products. But at the recently concluded Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) held in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Robert Dickerman revealed that the Nigerian Government still pays N1 trillion every month for petrol subsidy,” the statement reads.

“Mr. Dickerman who made the disclosure while participating in a panel discussion disclosed that a significant subsidy is still in place, adding that this has contributed to the affordable price of the product and potentially fueling smuggling activities to neighbouring countries. 

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“On its own part, the World Bank has alleged partial return of fuel subsidy in a report presented in Abuja last December. In justifying its claim then, the World Bank said that based on the official exchange rate then, the petrol should sell for around N750 per litre and not the N650 currently being paid by Nigerians.

“Curiously, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited has not deemed it fit to deny the serious allegation that fuel subsidy has been restored. Since there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the 2023 and 2024 Appropriation Acts, the federal government should, without any further delay, confirm or deny the serious allegation and end the opacity surrounding the importation of fuel from foreign countries.”

Falana also cited a February 2024 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advising the Nigerian government to completely phase out petrol and electricity subsidies in the country despite the president’s announcement.

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