Court declares deregulation (and government-imposed fuel price increase) ILLEGAL

Posted by News Express | 19 March 2013 | 3,508 times

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One of the policy planks of the Jonathan administration was chopped off earlier today when a Federal High Court in the Nigerian capital city, Abuja, declared the policy of deregulation as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The policy is the finger behind which the government hides to impose periodic furl price increases on Nigerians. The last of such increases sparked a protest that grounded parts of the country in January last year before President Goodluck Jonathan reduced the prices but not to the pre-increase level.

Judgement against the policy was given this morning by Honourable Justice M. Bello of the Abuja Division, Court 3, in the case of Bamidele Aturu v Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Attorney General of The Federation. The court The case no is FHC/ABJ/CS/591/ 2009

The Court agreed with all our arguments and granted all the plaintiff’e reliefs in the following specific terms:

1. A DECLARATION that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in vicious violation of the mandatory provision of section 6 of the Petroleum Act, cap P.10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

2. A DECLARATION that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in flagrant violation of the mandatory provision of section 4 of the Price Control Act, cap P28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

3. A DECLARATION that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in conflict with Section 16(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which provides that the Government shall control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.

4. A DECLARATION that that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria has the effect of making the freedom of movement guaranteed in section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 illusory for the Plaintiff and the generality of Nigerians and is therefore illegal, unconscionable and unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.

5. AN ORDER restraining the Defendants their agents, privies, collaborators and whosoever and howsoever from deregulating the downstream sector of the petroleum industry or from failing to fix the prices of petroleum products as mandatorily required by the Petroleum Act and the Price Control Act.

6. AN ORDER directing the Defendants to fix and publish regularly prices of petroleum products forthwith.

Reacting to the judgement, Aturu, a Lagos-based layer and activist, said in a statement released this evening: “We thank the judge for his unparalleled erudition and sound logic and the Nigerian people for having confidence in the rule of law. The sound and logical treatment of the issue of locus standi raised by the defendants reassures us that the judiciary without doubt cannot be wholly dismissed in the struggle to build genuine democracy. The judge has done his own bit. It is now left for Nigerians to be alert to challenge any wicked increase in the prices of petroleum products. May God truly bless Nigeria.”

Photo: Barrister Aturu, who successfully challenge the deregulation policy in court.


Source: News Express

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