As inflation bites harder, forcing the court to order the Federal Government to regulate the prices of goods and services rising astronomically and negatively affecting the livelihood of Nigerians, a former presidential aide and veteran journalist, Laolu Akande, has urged President Bola Tinubu to do the needful and commit to Nigerians’ welfare, declaring the latest ruling a wake-up call to act fast.
A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, had ordered the Federal Government to fix the prices of some basic goods and petroleum products within seven days, amid rapidly increasing prices of goods and services in the country.
The court specifically ordered the government to control the prices of milk, flour, salt, sugar, bicycles and their spare parts, matches, motorcycles and their spare parts, motor vehicles and their spare parts and petroleum products which include diesel, premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, and kerosene.
The presiding judge, Ambose Lewis-Allagoa, gave the price control order after listening to an application by a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), The Nation reports.
But, Akande, giving his views on the court verdict when he featured on the Channels TV’s widely circulated news documentary programme, Sunrise Daily, aired on Thursday morning, February 7, 2024, said, the ruling was a wake-up call for the government’s leaders to prioritise the essence of their being in government which was to give priority to the welfare and security of Nigerians.
As he said, “What I think has happened essentially is a wake-up call. I am sure we are going to have a debate among the lawyers about whether this is something that can compel specific actions on the part of the government and I’ve heard some of them say this thing cannot be enforced.
“But what we cannot deny is the fact that there are constitutional requirements that compel the government to take the welfare of the people seriously and that is one lesson that we can’t remove when the court is saying that you’ve got to deal with the issue of rising cost of living.
“Government has the instrumentality to deliver in terms of reasonable prices, welfare, and even in terms of security. The government has the resources to make them happen, and that is how I interpret the ruling and its implications.”
Akande contended that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in government for the past eight years and has equally produced people who understood the problems, hence, the government leaders at both the federal and state levels should ensure they benefit from their insight to institute true governance, as overall, the President as the leader takes the blame.
“The other thing I want to say is that it is important for the people who are at the head of government in the states or the federal that look, for instance, at the federal, it is about the President who is going to get the blame or the praise for what is happening under his watch now.”
“I can say that because of what I experienced. A lot of problems that we are dealing with today have been on for a long time and there are people that understand the problem even more than an average guy. I think that the President should reach out wider. His party, the APC, has been in government for eight years. Some people have been working for eight years, so it is better to benefit from their insight. Don’t forget what I said, it is he who will take the blame,” Akande said.
He, however, said that lawyers will still have to deal with the workability of the court verdict, as according to him, in reality, “It is going to be difficult to enforce.”
The veteran journalist, notwithstanding, pointed out to the leaders that the essence of their being in government is to ensure that the people they govern are secure and that their welfare is guaranteed.
“We are going to see what happens. It is important that the court is making a ruling on the matter. It underscores the criticality of governance. You are in power, you have the resources of force, the resources of state to ensure there is welfare for the people,” Akande concluded.