Court orders FG to fix price of fuel, motor vehicles, milk, others within seven days

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The Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the Federal Government on Wednesday to fix the pricing of goods and petroleum products within seven days starting from wednesday.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa granted the order in response to an originating motion filed and argued by the petitioner, Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana.

Falana had brought the Price Control Board and the Attorney General of the Federation, both listed as defendants, before the court to determine “whether by virtue of Section 4 (1) of the Price Control Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the first defendant is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any goods that are of the kind specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.”

In an affidavit in support of the summons taken out by the Senior Advocate and deposed to by a legal practitioner from his firm, Taiwo Olawanle, the deponent noted that the following commodities: bicycles and its spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and its spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene are listed in the Price Control Act.

He also noted that the Act gives the Price Control Board powers to fix the prices of this wide array of commodities.

“That though the price of the commodities is supposed to be fixed by the Board, the only petroleum products that are fixed to a certain amount are not being enforced.

“That the price of a bag of rice which was formerly N8,000 has risen to N45,000 in the market and that the situation in the market is by each passing day becoming more unbearable for consumers as prices of goods keep rising on a daily basis.

“Sellers are not always sincere as they are so desperate to make excessive profits at the expense of buyers.

“Food prices which human beings should not be deprived of are on the high side due to a lack of price fixing by the Ist Defendant.

“That buyers are at the receiving end when the prices of goods are increased as they tend to suffer for it more.

“That the increase in the price of goods has forced various categories of eateries and canteens to increase the prices of their meals, attributing the high cost to unstable and unfavorable prices of farm produce.

“That there is a need for the 1st defendant to rise up to its task of imposing prices on these commodities.

“That unless the defendants are mandated by the court to wake up to their responsibilities, the prices of goods will continue to skyrocket.”

The senior advocate therefore sought the following claims/reliefs from the court:
“A declaration that by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act Cap, the defendants are under a legal obligation to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene.

“A declaration that the failure or refusal of the Defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene is illegal as it offends the provision of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap…., Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order directing the defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene not later than 7 days after the delivery of the Judgment of this Honourable Court.”

After listening to the senior advocate today, Justice Lewis-Allagoa said, ” I have heard the applicant, Femi Falana and I have also discovered that despite the service of the originating motion on the respondents namely Attorney-General of the Federation and the Price Control Board, there’s no opposition to it by way of a counter affidavit, which in law means that all the facts deposed in the affidavit attached to the originating motion are all deemed admitted.

Consequently, all prayers that are sought for in the motion papers are hereby granted as prayed.”

The judge then ordered the Nigerian government to fix the price of Milk, Flour, salt, sugar, bicycles and its spare parts, matches, motorcycles and its spare parts, motor vehicles and its spare parts as well as Petroleum products, which include: diesel, petrol motor spirit (PMS) and kerosene.