The society group, Joint Action Front (JAF), in conjunction with hundreds of other organisations, has started a national mobilization, asking Nigerians to prepare for mass actions against the recent fuel price hike and increase in electricity tariff.
The group has fixed Wednesday September 16th for the commencement of the mass actions to demand the “immediate and unconditional reversal of the hike in petrol price from the N160 to the N86.50.”
Chairperson of JAF, Dr. Dipo Fashina, and Secretary of JAF, Comrade Abiodun Aremu, stated this in a briefing on the outcome of the national consultation with civil society organisations and some trade unions.
This is just as hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Lagos on Thursday to demand the reversal of the fuel price hike and electricity tariff.
However, the protest staged by the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), was disrupted by security agencies which also arrested some of the protesters, including journalists fueling condemnation from the International Press Centre (IPC).
Aremu, who briefed the press on the proposed mass actions, described the latest increase in fuel price from N150 to N162 as “wicked”.
“We, thereby, condemn and reject the latest wicked increases in prices of fuel, electricity tariffs and value added tax (VAT), and contended that it is a product of the capitalist neoliberal policies of Privatisation and Deregulation,” he said.
They called on the “Nigerian working people, the oppressed poor masses, students, traders, professionals, women, unemployed youth, farmers, artisans, Muslims, Christians and faith based organisations to prepare to use mass actions to reject, resist and defeat the latest imposition of hardships by the deceptive and anti-poor people Buhari regime on Nigerians, which if not resisted and defeated, would compound the miserable existence of the vast majority of Nigerians, who are still groaning with the attacks of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The meeting urged Nigerians across the country to hold mass meetings and sensitisation rallies to reject the latest hikes and to struggle to defeat it, preparatory to the commencement of mass actions, which we agreed should commence Wednesday, September 16, 2020,” he said.
Deputy Chairperson of JAF, Comrade Achike Jude, in a chat with our correspondent, said: “This government came to power on the back of the promises they made to people to right all the wrongs of the previous administration.
“We cannot continue to provide excuses for their monumental failure.
“The unfortunate thing is that government officials, who are enjoying all the privileges and appurtenances of office, would come on air to tell us how expensive petroleum products are in other parts of West Africa.
“Nigeria is Nigeria, an independent nation that produces crude oil, sends it out of the country, and brings it back to sell to citizens at prices they cannot afford.
“The implication is that already the inflation rate has been exceedingly very high and Nigerians cannot afford it.
“The minimum wage of N30,000 which is a scandal that you promised Nigerian workers, they are not getting it.
“Even if they get it, they still cannot do anything meaningful with it if you have a family of three.
“How can a government who knows that about 110m of its citizens are operating on less than two dollars a day, impose this kind of hardship on the Nigerian people?
“Is it because those that are in government are so privileged that they are outside the suffering of the Nigerian people and they do not face the realities that Nigerians face every single day.
“This is a clarion call to Nigerians who are being marginalized and oppressed in their own country.”
Earlier in the day, the protest against fuel price hike in parts of Lagos was disrupted by security agents.
Daily Trust reports that the protest organised by the SPN started from Yaba with protesters marching towards Surulere and Ojuelegba.
But the protesters met stiff resistance from the Police and officers of the Department of State Security (DSS) who allegedly arrested some of them including journalists covering the protest.
A member of the SPN who was part of the protest said about 30 security vehicles were mobilised at Yaba to disperse the protesters.
As of the time of filing this report, the arrested protesters were still in custody of the police.