BY GRACE ANYANWU, ABUJA – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said given the level of poverty the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has foisted on the nation, there is no way our country men and women can survive the obnoxious hike in the cost of fuel and electricity, as currently imposed.

This as the party described the brazen attempt by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to justify the excessive hike in the cost of fuel from N87 per liter under the PDP to N162 as well as electricity from N30.23 per kwh to over N66kw/h, as yet another daring and intolerable affront to the Nigerian citizenry, who have summarily rejected the increases.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that it stands with Nigerians in insisting that there is no way Nigerian compatriots can survive a N162 per liter fuel price and a N66 per kw/h of electricity in a country which, in the last five years, ranked as poverty capital of the world.

The PDP said that with a frightening 23 percent unemployment rate; where over 90 million citizens live in abject poverty and many more living on less than N500 a day, they cannot survive such unjustifiable increases.

The party further said; “Indeed, we find it very inconceivable that after the Federal Government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, confirmed that 90 million Nigerians are living in poverty, it still went ahead to increase the cost of essential commodities that drive our economy.

“Nigerians are already in trepidation that the excruciating price increase is a sudden death sentence on many citizens, particularly those living below poverty line, as they cannot survive under a worsened economic situation.

“Moreover, with a N30,000 federal monthly minimum wage, which represents a N1,000 ($2.1) daily wage, there is no way an average Nigerian can survive under the excessive fuel and electricity hike, with attendant increases in transportation and other operational costs, which will leave most citizens with nothing for food, medicines, house rents and other basic necessities of life.

“We remind President Buhari that this hike will worsen the scary situation in the last five years, where compatriots are resorting to suicide, slavery mission abroad as well as selling of their children as options.

“Our party therefore finds it extremely cruel and insensitive for anybody, particularly, an official of this failed administration, to attempt to antagonize Nigerians by comparing our nation to other countries where their Presidents are working hard in providing gainful employments, running productive economies and functional infrastructure, and where citizens boast of strong purchasing power,” it said.

The PDP therefore said that it rejects the highly irrational argument by the Minister of Information, Mohammed, that fuel price is lower in some West African countries, without presenting the contradictory economic settings in those countries and ours.

According to the PDP; “Moreover, given our natural endowment, it is incontrovertible that Nigeria has always had cheaper fuel than her neighbours, It is however disgraceful that this Buhari administration, given its incompetence, extreme cluelessness as well as obnoxious and poverty inducing policies, has reduced Nigeria from the Giant of Africa to a West African ‘struggler’.

“The PDP firmly holds that nothing but immediate downward review of the cost of fuel and electricity can be acceptable under the current economic situation in our country.

“President Buhari must know that the duty of every responsible government is to solve problems and not to inflict pain and invent justification for its own failures.

“On this fuel and electricity prices increase, the PDP, once again, charges President Buhari to end the grandstanding of his administration and listen to Nigerians before it is too late”.

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