Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is not legally empowered to fix or adjust the price of petrol.
According to Falana, the power to fix the price of petrol lies with President Bola Tinubu since there is no substantive minister of petroleum resources.
Recall that on May 31, NNPCL revealed that it has adjusted the price of petrol across it retail outlets.
The spokesperson of the corporation, Garba Deen Muhammad cited “market realities” as the reason for the adjustment of the price.
It had been reported earlier that filling stations across the country increased pump prices from N185 to over N500 shortly after President Tinubu declared in his inauguration speech that “petrol subsidy is gone”.
Reacting to the development in an interview with Channels Television on Friday, Falana said it was against the law that NNPCL or the so-called “invisible market forces” were fixing the price of petrol.
“The NNPC has metamorphosed into a limited liability company. It is now NNPC Limited. To that extent, NNPCs like Total, Exxonmobil, and Shell operating in the oil industry cannot announce increases in the prices of petroleum products. That duty is vested in the government,” the senior advocate of Nigerian (SAN) said.
“Nobody has the right in Nigeria to fix the prices of petroleum products other than the government. You have a price control act and at that time the petroleum act, now PIA.
“You ask the NNPC where have you got the power to fix the price of petrol from N185 to N540, how? The invisible market forces cannot under the Nigerian constitution and under the PIA fix the prices of petroleum products.
“Under the current situation in which we have found ourselves since ministers have not been appointed, the president is running the country. Only the president can sọ decide the price for now. You have the price control act, the PIA. There is no provision in our law for market forces to determine to prices of any product in the country.”