HIKES: CDHR demands resignation of Buhari, calls on Nigerians, Organized Labour to resist Buhari’s World Bank, IMF agenda

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has condemned in strong terms the hikes imposed on Value Added Tax (VAT), petrol pump price and electricity tariff by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, and demand the immediate and unconditional reversal of the hikes and the resignation of Muhammadu Buhari as the president of Nigeria.

In a press statement signed by its National President, Barrister Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, the CDHR describes the hikes as “needless, insensitive, unconscionable, ruthless, monstrous, anti-people and a calculated tactic to further enrich the ruling class and their cronies and sycophants, at the very tragic expense of the poor and downtrodden majority in Nigeria, who are already embittered victims of Muhammadu Buhari’s prior policies of excessive economic strangulation.”

CDHR laments that “The hike in VAT and the just announced hikes in petrol pump price and electricity tariff has led to hikes in prices of goods and services nationwide, bearing in mind that ours is a volatile economy that is already plagued by inflation, currency collapse and stagnated wages/salaries.”

Dr.Osagie Obayuwana, National President, CDHR

“There is an accurate forecast of foreseeable general increase in house rents across the country, as landlords/landladies would certainly seek to pass on the heavy punch of the hikes,” the Human Rights organization added.

While demanding the immediate and unconditional reversal of the hikes, CDHR said the hikes will deny the poor and downtrodden Nigerians the right to decent standard of living, and upholds that the hikes are violations of the Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations’ Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights and a gross violation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Oath of Office.

“We strongly condemn these increases and demand their immediate and unconditional reversal, as amongst others, they clearly deny the people of their inalienable human rights to dignity, decency of standard of living and economic wellbeing, as enshrined in the Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations’ Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.

We also find these callous hikes as a gross violation of Muhammadu Buhari’s Oath of Office, wherein he swore “… to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” ”

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari

Furthermore, recalling Federal Government $3 billion World Bank loan application and the agreed disbursement of $750 million for the Nigeria Power Sector in 2019, the CDHR describes the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, as an agent and puppet of Western Imperialism.

According to the CDHR, the hikes in Value Added Tax, petrol pump price and electricity tariff are orders of the World Bank and the dictation of the International Monetary Fund.

The CDHR asserts that the World Bank and the IMF do not have the interests of the suffering people of Nigeria at heart, while calling on the organized labour and all progress seeking organizations and the masses to not only resist the obnoxious hikes but to equally join the CDHR in its call for the immediate resignation of Muhammadu Buhari, in order “to abort his desperately determined attempt to throw Nigeria and Nigerians into Second Slavery on the callous dictates of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.”

Meanwhile, noting the fifth year of Muhammadu Buhari in power as President and Minister of Petroleum, the CDHR equally expressed its frown at the absence of a single functioning refinery, whereas the President keeps paving ways for private construction of refineries and sale of Nigeria’s.

CDHR condemns the privatization of electricity distribution and all other privatization policies of the Nigerian governments, while it calls for the immediate nationalization of the Power Sector, Downstream Sector and other commanding heights of the nation’s economy.

CDHR has also called for the democratic management of the resources of Nigeria, stressing the point that “Nigerians have a right to active participation in the course of governance and the cause of collectively determining their shared destiny.”

Urging Nigerians to resist the hikes through mass protest,

the Dr. Osagie Obayuwana signed CDHR Press Statement also called on “organized labour to lead the mobilizations of trade unions for a total shutdown of the country, until the anti-people neo-liberal policies of the ruling class are abolished.”

The CDHR equally called for the immediate resignation of Muhammadu Buhari, as it does “not see anything good coming from his administration for the 2½ years left of his regime.”

READ FULL PRESS STATEMENT:

CDHR CONDEMNS HIKE IN VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT), PETROL PUMP PRICE AND ELECTRICITY TARIFF, CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF MR. MUHAMMADU BUHARI

It is no longer news that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, has been hiked to N151.56 per litre, while electricity tariff was hiked from N22 to N66 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). These hikes took effect in September, 2020. You will recall that, similarly on the 1st of February, 2020, the Muhammadu Buhari government added a 50% hike on Value Added Tax (VAT), which raised the VAT from 5% to 7.5%.

The hike in VAT and the just announced hikes in petrol pump price and electricity tariff has led to hikes in prices of goods and services nationwide, bearing in mind that ours is a volatile economy that is already plagued by inflation, currency collapse and stagnated wages/salaries. There is an accurate forecast of foreseeable general increase in house rents across the country, as landlords/landladies would certainly seek to pass on the heavy punch of the hikes.

For us at the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), the hikes are needless, insensitive, unconscionable, ruthless, monstrous, anti-people and a calculated tactic to further enrich the ruling class and their cronies and sycophants, at the very tragic expense of the poor and downtrodden majority in Nigeria, who are already embittered victims of Muhammadu Buhari’s prior policies of excessive economic strangulation.

We strongly condemn these increases and demand their immediate and unconditional reversal, as amongst others, they clearly deny the people of their inalienable human rights to dignity, decency of standard of living and economic wellbeing, as enshrined in the Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations’ Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.

We also find these callous hikes as a gross violation of Muhammadu Buhari’s Oath of Office, wherein he swore “… to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

By virtue of these hikes, Nigerians have now confirmed that Muhammadu Buhari is an agent and puppet of Western Imperialism. These hikes are being implemented by the Federal Government under the strict orders, directives and supervision of the World Bank (WB) and the dictation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) whose interests do not coincide with that of the suffering people of Nigeria.

We are reminded that in 2019, Nigeria applied for a $3 billion World Bank loan. As it is, the World Bank expects Nigeria to meet certain preconditions, some of which are–Unification of the exchange rate, Introduction of new electricity tariffs, Removal of fuel subsidy– before the loan is disbursed. Reportedly, the World Bank also agreed on the disbursement of $750 million for the Nigeria Power Sector on the account that the sector must operate a so-called cost-effective tariff regime that does not take into reckoning the already pauperized state of the majority of Nigerians.

We call on Organized Labour, all progress seeking organizations and the masses to not only resist the obnoxious hikes but to equally join us in our call for the immediate resignation of Muhammadu Buhari, to abort his desperately determined attempt to throw Nigeria and Nigerians into Second Slavery on the callous dictates of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

It is unacceptable that since the fifth year of Muhammadu Buhari in power as President and Minister of Petroleum, the acclaimed Giant of Africa cannot lay claim to a single functioning refinery, whereas, Buhari keeps paving ways for private construction of refineries and sale of Nigeria’s refineries.

We reiterate our position that privatization is nothing more than a ploy orchestrated to cart away public wealth from the hands of Nigerians to the cronies and sycophants of governments with one and only one intent: to siphon more wealth into their private pockets to the detriment of the poor masses, while the services for which the so-called privatization was effected remains undelivered to the people.

The privatization of electricity distribution is a practical example. Like a stroked body, privatization has left the power sector paralyzed; completely worse off than it was, when it was under public control. All thanks to the greedy power distributors who are unrepentantly motivated by the quest for profiteering, primitive accumulation of wealth, while provision of power supply to the people is not a priority.

We demand the immediate and unconditional reversal of the hikes in VAT, pump price and electricity tariffs. We call for the immediate nationalization of the Power Sector, Downstream Sector and other commanding heights of the nation’s economy. We call for the democratic management of the resources of our dear country, as Nigerians have a right to active participation in the course of governance and the cause of collectively determining their shared destiny.

We equally call on Nigerians to resist these hikes by way of mass protest and strike actions. The organized labour should lead the mobilizations of trade unions for a total shutdown of the country, until the anti-people neo-liberal policies of the ruling class are abolished. Above all, we call for the immediate resignation of Muhammadu Buhari; we do not see anything good coming from his administration for the 2½ years left of his regime. Nigeria belongs to ALL Nigerians. Nigeria does not belong to a select few!

Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win!

_____________________________

DR. OSAGIE OBAYUWANA

NATIONAL PRESIDENT

CDHR.

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