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By NBF News
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The controversy over the increase in prices of petroleum products by the President Goddluck Jonathan led administration has taken a legal dimension as 50 eminent Nigerians among them, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Balarabe Musa, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Kalu Idika Kalu, Professor Pat Utomi and wife of late Gani Fawehinmi have approached a Federal High Court to declare the increase as unlawful and illegal.

The rest are Ganiyat,Shehu Sanni and Dr Fredrick Fasheun who have asked the court to declare the increase in fuel pump price from N65 to N97 announced by the Federal Government on January 15 as unlawful, null and void. Joined as defendants in the suit are President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the 36 state governors as co-defendants.

They commenced the legal action via an originating summons telling the court that by Section 7 of the PPPRA and section 81 of the 1999 Constitution, the defendants are not empowered to validly increase the pump price of petrol as was done on the January 15, 2012 from N65 per litre to N97 per litre.

Plaintiffs insisted that by virtue of section 81 of the 1999 constitution, the defendants cannot sit as a body or in consultation with one another and validly take any decision affecting the appropriation of revenue accruing to the Federation and, in particular, the removal of subsidy on petrol without a valid Appropriation Act.

In a matter which has already been assigned to Justice Adamu Bello, plaintiffs' lawyer, Festus Keyamo asked him to declare that the purported increase of petrol pump price from N65 to N97 by the defendants while sitting as a body or in consultation with one another is in violation of Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution and section 7 of the PPPRA Act and therefore null and void and of no effect.

Consequently, plaintiffs are asking Justice Adamu Bello to nullify the decision of the defendants increasing the fuel pump price of petrol from N65 to N97 on the grounds that the defendants, action contravened Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution and section 7 of the PPPRA Act.