The outrage over hike in fuel and electricity prices in the country has put the Nigerian Senate under intense pressure. The Senate according to a report by Daily Sun, said they are tired of taking the blame for the Buhari administration’s actions which has not been going down well with the masses whom they represent.
The Senate has been labeled a “rubber stamp” assembly by Nigerians due to its loyalty to the presidency against the majority of the population whom they were supposed to represent.
Speaking about loyalty, House spokesperson, Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has previously said, “The executive should understand that we have taken a label of rubber stamp because we want the government to prosper, but should not be taken for granted.
“The fact that we are cooperating does not mean we are unaware of the expectations of our office.
“When we exercise the expectations of our office, it is important that those who are in the position to relate with us on that particular issue should understand that we are exercising the mandate of the constitution and nothing personal.”
But now however, the Lawmakers are reportedly prepared to take up arms against the government over hike in fuel and electricity prices, saying not doing so would make them accomplice as well, in the eyes of the public.
According to Daily Sun, the recent actions taken by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, has caused disquiet in the camp of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as law makers plan protests.
The fear, is believed to be borne of claims that some of the lawmakers drawn from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were plotting to convene an emergency sitting next week.
The emergency sitting, it was further gathered, is to provide an avenue for lawmakers to question the response of the leadership to recent hikes of electricity and petroleum products.
The Petroleum Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations (NNPC), had on Wednesday announced a new ex-depot price of N151.56k for petrol.
However, some filling stations owned by Independent marketers dispensed the product at between N162 and N164 per litre, depending on their location.
Lawmakers spearheading the move against Lawan are complaining that the inaction of the leadership was fueling a conspiracy against them.
“There’s this sentiment against lawmakers in our constituencies. They think that we are not doing enough and they’ve now labelled us stooges of Buhari. They call us rubber stamp and Lawan and other leaders of the Senate are not doing anything. Yet, Lawan wants us to approve everything sent to us by Buhari because they put him in office. We made a mistake by not insisting on having our own as president. We wanted to be loyal to our party, the APC. Today, we regret it,” a senator said in confidence.
Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, in a chat with newsmen, said he was currently out of town and could not confirm if there were plans to convene an emergency sitting.
“President of the Senate called me a while ago. I’m not sure what he wanted to discuss with me. It may have been related to that. But I can’t tell. The Senate committee chairman on Rules and Business can confirm that,” he said.
As part of moves to further escalate the issue, the senator revealed that a world press conference was being planned. He said consultations were ongoing at the zonal caucuses about the protest which according to him, could be concluded by the weekend.
He said many senators were disappointed in the hurried manner the fuel price hike was done without consultation with the National Assembly.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Obinna Ogba, said the increase in electricity tariff and fuel price at a time the economy was yet to recover from the deadly effects of COVID-19 showed government’s insensitivity.
“The country and indeed the whole world is facing serious problem right now because of the pandemic. Therefore, these increases are not good at all. It is adding salt to injury,” he said.