NNPCLtd lacks power to fix petrol price, says Falana

HUMAN rights lawyer Femi Falana has said the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCLtd) does not have the power to fix the prices of petroleum products, going by provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Falana said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, June 2.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), submitted that it is only the President that has the power to fix the prices of petroleum products.

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The NNPC has metamorphosed into a limited liability company, NNPC Limited.

To that extent, Falana said, NNPC, like Total, Exxon Mobil and Shell, is now operating in the oil industry and cannot announce an increase in the prices of petroleum products.

“That duty is vested in the government, and that is what I mean,” he maintained.

The ICIR reported that the NNPCLtd had on May 31 adjusted the pump price of petrol across its retail outlets following President Bola Tinubu’s announcement that subsidy is gone.

Falana pointed out that a Federal High Court judgment in Abuja, which has not been set outside, in a suit between Bamidele Aturu and the minister of petroleum resources (name not given), and delivered by Justice Adamu Bello (retd), held that nobody has the right in Nigeria to fix the prices of petroleum products apart from the government.

“So, ask the NNPC, where have you got the powers to fix the prices of petroleum products. The price of petrol this time around, from N185 thereabout to N540? How? The clarification is important,” Falana said.

The human rights activist further explained that the visible market forces, as claimed by the NNPCLtd, could not fix the price under the Nigerian Constitution and the PIA.

“Under the current situation which we have found ourselves, since ministers have not been appointed, the President is running the country and only the President can so decide for now.



    “There is no provision in our law for market force to determine the prices of any product in the country,” Falana said.

    Falana argued that NNPCLtd by its statement issued on May 31, assumed the position to fix petrol prices.

    The NNPCLtd had in the statement signed by its chief corporate communications officer, Garba Deen Muhammed, explained it was adjusting prices upwards “in line with current market realities”.

    “Prices will continue to fluctuate to reflect market dynamics,” NNPCLtd stated.

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