Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa ofLagos Federal High Court has ordered the federal government to fix the price of goods and petroleum products within seven days from today.
Specifically, Justice Lewis-Allagoa ordered the Nigerian government to fix the price of Milk, Flour, salt, sugar, bicycles andparts, matches, motorcycles and their spare parts, motor vehicles and their spare parts as well as Petroleum products, which include: diesel, petrol motor spirit (PMS) and kerosene.
The judge made the order while delivering judgment in the suit FHC/L/CS/869/2023, filed by human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), against the Price Control Board and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) who are listed as first and second defendants.
Falana had approached the court for the following: “Whether by Section 4 of the Price Controlthe first defendant is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any goods specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.
“A declaration thatSection 4 of the Price Control Act Cap, the defendants are under a legal obligation to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor and kerosene.
“A declaration that the failure or refusal of the Defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles andparts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene is illegal as it offends the of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap…., Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“An order directing the defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles andparts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene not later than 7 days after the delivery of the of this Honourable Court.”
At the hearing of the suit today, the plaintiff, Falana (SAN) informed the court that the motion on notice is premised on Section 4 (1) of the Price Control Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He also told the court that the defendants in the suit have been served with thesince it was filed in May refused and failed to file any response or counter to it.
Falana (SAN)urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought since there is no from the respondents.
Justice Lewis-Allagoa after hearing from the senior lawyer and perusing through the courtobserved that the defendants did not file any counter to the citing some plethoras of authorities held that: “all the reliefs contained in the motion paper are hereby granted as prayed.”
Falana (SAN) in the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by a lawyer in his chambers, Taiwo E. Olawanle, stated that the first defendant, the Price Control Board, was established by the Price Control Act, and it is saddled with the responsibility to fix a price on goods to stabilize the general price level, prevention of hoarding of goods, protection of customers from exorbitant prices, among others. The second defendant is the Chief Law Officer of the country.
He stated thatthe Plaintiff has been involved in the defence and promotion of human rights in Africa for over three decades. And that on account of his human rights works, the Plaintiff has been honoured by many local and international the American Bar Association (1996), International Bar Association (2008), Legal Aid Council (2011), Nigerian Lawyers Association (2012) and National Human Rights Commission (2015).
The deponent averred that on January 3, 2023, he was informed by Plaintiff in this matter: Femi Falana, SAN of the following facts, which I verily believe and still do believe, to wit: “that the following commodities are listed in the Price Control Act: bicycles and its spare parts, Flour, Matches, Milk, Motorcycles and its spare parts, Motor vehicles andparts, Petroleum products, Salt and Sugar.
“The Act gave the firstpowers to fix the price of the wide array of commodities listed above.
“Though thethe only petroleum products that are fixed to a certain amount are not being enforced.
“That the price of a bag of rice which was formerly N8,000 has risen to N45,000the market.
“The situation in the market is,each passing day, becoming unbearable for consumers as prices of goods keep rising daily.
“Sellers are not always sincere as they are so desperate to make excessive profits at the expense of the buyers
“Food prices which human beings should not be deprived of aredue to lack of price fixing by the first defendant. And that buyers are at the receiving end when are increased as they tend to suffer for more.
“That selling the bank is not in theinterest of the staff, customers and taxpayers whose money was used for the And that the incessant increase in got the attention of the Federal House of Representatives resolved to set up a special committee to look into the situation.
“The increase in prices of goods has forced various categories of eateries and canteens to increase the prices of theirthe high costs to unstable and unfavourable
“That there is a need for the first defendant to rise to its task of imposing prices on these commodities. Unless the Defendants are mandated by this Honourable Court to wake up to their responsibilities,will continue to skyrocket.
01, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”