Protest: Obaseki can’t determine fuel price, says aide

The Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, has said that Governor Godwin Obaseki cannot determine fuel pump prices in the state, urging the citizens to hold the Federal Government responsible for the hardship faced by the people.

Osagie said this when he addressed a group of protesters made up of civil society organisations and activists who were at the Government House, Benin City, to lament the high cost of petroleum products which has affected the cost of living, inflicting hardship and suffering on the people.

The media aide said the governor cannot change the price of fuel or fix federal roads when such monies will not be repaid to the state to execute its own road projects, urging the protesters to channel their energies to calling on the Federal Government to awaken to its responsibilities.

He said, “We have challenges with the Edo State roads that is why it will be difficult for us to take Edo people’s money to fix Federal Government roads. FG collects 54 per cent of FAAC and Local Governments and States share the rest 46 per cent. Federal Government is just one entity while States are 36.

“The Edo State Government can’t take its money to fix Federal Government roads when we know that such money will not come back to the State. We have State roads to be fixed like the Ekehuan Road, among others. We can’t leave State roads to fix Federal Government roads.

“Governor Godwin Obaseki has been calling on the Federal Government to help fix the federal roads in the State, including Benin-Abraka Road and the Benin Auchi Road where our lawmaker almost died, as well as the Benin Sapele Road and the Benin-Lagos Road at the Ovia River Bridge but the calls fell on deaf ears as the Federal Government has not listened and there is no guarantee that they will act.”

He added, “The Edo State Government has a lot of things to do but it has actually done some things and these achievements should also be acknowledged by protesters like you when registering your grievances.”

On the pump price increase, Osagie said the governor can’t singlehandedly change the fuel price as demanded by the protesters but will help channel their grievances in a letter to the appropriate quarters for action.

He noted, “Fuel subsidy is everybody’s problem as it is not only your problem. The governor can’t restore subsidies or change the fuel price as you can tell the Federal Government yourself. However, we will collect the letter and hand it over to the governor for onward transmission to the President in Abuja.

“The people are suffering. We are also feeling the pinch and understand what you are going through. It’s not fair that the federal government plans to give N8,000 to ordinary people and give above N100 billion to the National Assembly as no reasonable person will accept that.”

Reacting to increased federal allocation to the state, the governor’s media aide said, “The issue of allocation increment is not correct and has not happened. My advice to you is never to throw allegations around and misinform the people because the information about an increment of state allocation is not correct but misleading. I urge you to make a statement with facts.”

Refuting rumoured plans by the government to use billions of public funds to buy official vehicles for Edo House of Assembly members, Osagie said, “It wouldn’t be fair for the governor to use billion to buy cars for EDHA members and fail to fix the roads in the State as both the legislature and the people have their expectations.

“Obaseki would act on your letter as he is a reasonable governor and will convene that which is beyond him to the appropriate authorities that would act on it.”

A representative of the protesters, Comrade Kelly Osunbor, of the Faculty of Peace Organisation, lamented the anguish and pain of the people as a result of the fuel price hike, urging for the assistance of the state government.

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