FG asks for one week to review petrol price

The federal government has requested for a week’s break from discussions with organised labour to consult on the new petrol price increase.

The group managing director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, made the request at Thursday’s meeting with the leadership of organised labour at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Kyari told the meeting that the Corporation couldn’t unilaterally announce a reversal of the new price without consultations.

It was agreed by both the labour and government team led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, that the meeting should be adjourned and should resume on December 7.

Labour has asked the government to reverse the recent fuel price increase, saying the increase “negates the agreement reached in September.”

Petrol price has increased by about four times in 2020; it had risen from N121.50–N123.50 per litre in June and N140.80-N143.80 in July and N148-N150 in August.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, at the end of the meeting which lasted for more than three hours, told reporters that the federal government team “will relay the position of labour to President Muhammadu Buhari who is the Minister of Petroleum and also to the Economic Management team because funds are involved.”

“By Monday, December 7, we will come back, because the message from the organised labour is clear. They want a reversal of the pump price to what it was. So, the government side will take it back to our principals.

“Even though the government is not fixing the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) anymore because it is deregulated, it is part of the economy. So, the government side will consult anybody that needs to be consulted.

“We will consult the President as the Minister of Petroleum and then, the Economic Management team because funds are involved,” he said.

Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, said it was believed that when the parties will resume negotiation on December 7, the reversal must have been effected.

“We took one week adjournment for them to reverse it (fuel increment) for us to begin discussions because the GMD (Group Managing Director) was saying that he can’t just announce it there, that he needs to do consultations,” he said.

In his remarks, the SGF commended organised labour for putting the nation first.

He assured the organised labour of the government’s preparedness to work hand- in – hand with them to ensure that resolutions were reached at the meeting on any issue that borders on the welfare of Nigerians.

1970 oil spill: Supreme Court snubs Shell’s request to vacate N17bn judgement (3rd)

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an application by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited seeking to set aside a N17 billion judgement given against Shell on January 11, 2019, over a 1970 oil spill in a Rivers state community.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court was unanimous, in its ruling, in holding that the application by Shell was without merit.

Justice Centus Nweze said after a thorough examination of the briefs filed by parties and issues raised by parties, he elected to uphold the preliminary objection raised by the respondents (victims of the oil spill, led by Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara), dismissed the application and ordered parties to bear their respective costs.

The Supreme Court had, in a ruling on January 11, 2019, dismissed the appeal by Shell against an earlier decision of the Court of Appeal on a June 14, 2010, judgement of the Federal High Court, which awarded damages against the oil company in an oil spill at Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme local government area of Rivers state.

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