Femi Falana Slams NNPC for Setting Petrol Pump Price: Calls for Government Intervention

…By Larry John for TDPel Media. Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has expressed strong disapproval of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for determining the pump price of petrol.

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Falana’s condemnation comes in the wake of the recent price hike implemented by the NNPCL across its retail outlets nationwide.

Constitutional Limitations on NNPC’s Authority

In an interview with Channels Television on Friday, Falana emphasized that the NNPCL does not possess the legal authority to set the price of petrol.

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He argued that the corporation’s role is limited to adjusting the pump price, while the power to fix the price lies with President Bola Tinubu, considering the absence of a substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Government’s Exclusive Jurisdiction

According to Falana, the NNPC, now operating as NNPC Limited, is comparable to private oil companies like Total, ExxonMobil, and Shell.

Therefore, it does not have the jurisdiction to unilaterally announce price increases for petroleum products.

The responsibility of fixing prices is vested in the government, as per the Price Control Act and the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

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Challenging the Legitimacy of Price Determination

Falana raised questions about the legal basis for the NNPCL’s decision to raise petrol prices from N185 to N540.

He argued that the invisible market forces cannot, under the Nigerian constitution and the PIA, determine the prices of petroleum products.

The power to determine prices ultimately rests with the government.

Presidential Authority and Price Control

Given the current situation without appointed ministers, Falana asserted that, in the absence of a designated authority, only President Bola Tinubu has the power to determine the price of petrol.

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He emphasized the existence of the Price Control Act and the PIA, which do not provide for market forces to dictate prices of any product in the country.

Femi Falana’s critique highlights the need for clarity regarding the legal framework and decision-making process for setting petrol prices, calling for the government’s exclusive jurisdiction in determining these prices to be upheld.

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