Sola Adeyemo, Ibadan
An Ibadan-based legal icon, Otunba Kunle Kalejaye (SAN), has warned the Presidency and Federal Government against increasing petroleum price next year, saying that implementing such will surely be a great mistake.
Kalejaye said this in Ibadan during the 10th 2021 Christmas Carol of Seven Lessons and Songs programme organised by his Chambers to usher in the new year.
The carol endorsed by the Anglican Communion, Agodi GRA, Ibadan was presided over by Revd. Canon B.O. Ehigie who delivered a sermon on the occasion.
Speaking with New Telegraph after the programme, Kalejaye expressed dismay at the fuel hike proposal from N165 to about N340 saying: “I don’t think those who formulate policies for this government come around to know what is going on in the country. It is only when you don’t have blood running in you that you won’t know that Nigerians are suffering. And Nigerians are suffering in such a way that you can’t describe it.
“I think it will be a very great mistake for this government to increase the price of petroleum because price of every other thing will go up, and you know what that means for the livelihood of many poor Nigerians. And I just pray that the government will see reason.
“Instead of this proposal, the government should even roll out plans to ease the pains of Nigerians and not to add to it. Average Nigerians cannot now afford three square meals a day. So, to increase the price of petrol is just like killing people indirectly. And I think Government will have a rethink about it.
“This matter is not rocket science. Let our leaders come to the market and hear the cries of the people. All these things are not what they cannot find out. And to say that you want to do this because some people are smuggling petroleum out of the country, calls for question of why we have people at the borders. So, my view is that government should have a rethink about it. It is a wind that will blow noone no good. People are already down and if the government pushes them the more, where do they go again?”
Reacting to the N5,000 palliative proposed by the Federal Government to the poorest of the poor to cushion the effects of the fuel price increase, Kalejaye said: “how much is N5,000 in what is on ground presently? And how are we sure the money will get down to those who really need it. What will N5,000 buy in this present day Nigeria? They must be joking. Instead of all these unworkable policies, why not fix the refineries and get them up and working?
“Im even surprised about hearing of revamping of refineries at this time because one of the cardinal pillars of this government was that they were going to fix the refineries in few months, and I don’t know why this should be an issue when they are going into the year when they will become lame duck. If the Federal Government is very serious about the issue, then those refineries should be up and working now. If such were to be in place, we would not be talking of price increase in petrol by now.”