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Inflation: Court orders FG to fix prices of flour, vehicle spare parts, petroleum products, others

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Following the impact of the rising inflation rate on the costs of goods and services, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Federal Government (FG) to fix the prices of goods and petroleum products within seven days.

The judge gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit No FHC/L/CS/869/2023, filed by human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, against the Price Control Board and the Attorney-General of the Federation, listed as the first and second defendants.

According to the judgement delivered by Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa, the Court specifically ordered the government to fix the price of milk, flour, salt, sugar, bicycles, and their spare parts, matches, motorcycles and their spare parts, motor vehicles and their spare parts as well as petroleum products, which includes diesel, Premium Motor Spirit and kerosene.

Falana had approached the court to determine whether by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, the first respondent is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any goods that are of the kind specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.

Falana prayed the court to grant “A declaration that the failure or refusal of the respondents to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit, and kerosene is illegal as it offends the provision of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap., Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

At the hearing of the case on Wednesday, the plaintiff, Falana informed the court that the motion on notice was 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 the processes since it was filed in May 2023, but refused and failed to file any response or counter to it.

Falana consequently urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought since there is no counter from the respondents.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa, after listening to Falana’s submission, observed that the respondents did not file any counter to the suit.

The judge cited decided cases and held that, “all the reliefs contained in the motion paper are hereby granted as prayed.”

Falana, 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 stabilise 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 also stated that the 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 organisations.

The deponent averred that on January 3, 2023, he was informed by the plaintiff  ”that the following commodities are listed in the Price Control Act: bicycles and its spare parts, flour, matches, milk, motorcycles and spare parts, motor vehicles and spare parts, petroleum products, salt and sugar.

“The Act basically gave the first respondent powers to fix the prices of the wide array of commodities listed above.”

“Though the price of the commodities listed above is supposed to be imposed by the first respondent, the 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 N45,000 in the market.

“The situation in the market is 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 are on the high side due to lack of price fixing by the first defendant. And that buyers are at the receiving end when the prices of goods are increased as they tend to suffer for it more.”

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Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves surge by 5% to $33.58bn

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Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves increased by 5 percent to $33.58 billion in the last two months.

This is according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s latest FX data as of June 19, 2024.

Accordingly, the foreign exchange reserves figure represents a $1.47 billion increase compared to $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024.

The Monetary Policy Committee, MPC during its 295th meeting reiterated its commitment to boosting Nigeria’s external reserves.

“The Committee also noted the marginal increase in the external reserve balance between March and April 2024 and urged the Bank to sustain its focus on accretion to reserves”, reads in part.

Recall that the Nigerian government received $925 million from Afrieximbank barely two weeks ago as the $3.3 billion crude oil-backed prepayment facility organized by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Meanwhile, despite the increase in the country’s foreign reserves, Naira depreciated N1485.36 for the second consecutive time against the dollar on Thursday.

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Ondo Govt breaks silence after court declared 33 LCDAs illegal

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Following the judgment of an Ondo State High Court which declared the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, as unconstitutional, the state government has stated that it is studying the judgement.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Kayode Ajulo, in a statement on Friday, said the state government would duly analyze the judgement, adding that the rule of law would be followed.

The late former Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu created the LCDAs in 2023.

But in his judgement on Thursday, Justice A.O. Adebusuoye stated that the LCDAs were not lawfully created.

According to Ajulo, the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement has been requested and will be studied accordingly.

“All necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Honourable Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritising the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served.”

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Nigeria Customs generates N249b within 5 months in Rivers

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The Nigeria Customs Service, Area 2 Command, Onne in Rivers, said it has generated more than N249 billion as at May, 2024 representing 40.3 per cent of its current annual revenue target.

Comptroller of the command, Muhammed Babandede, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen at Onne.

According to him, the 40.3 per cent revenue record followed a recent review of the command’s annual revenue target from N494 billion to N618 billion.

The comptroller noted that when compared to the same period in 2023, the command had recorded an increase of more than N153 billion.

He also said that six containers laden with codeine, contraband drugs and goods valued at more than N3 billion were also confiscated within the period under review.

He said that the seizures included four containers laden with bales of clothing, lace and fabrics with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of more than N911 million.

Others, the controller said, were two containers laden with 2,625 cartons of codeine syrup among other contraband valued at more than N2 billion.

Babandede commended the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for inter-agency collaboration while also assuring adequate handover of seizures.

He also emphasised that the command would not relent on its core function of trade facilitation which entailed streamlined and simplified technical and legal procedures for clearing import or export goods.

On the operations of bonded terminals, the comptroller explained that the final destination for clearing of consignment was at the importer’s discretion.

“These procedures are guide which all Customs officers must adhere to.

“This negates the erroneous belief that officers of the Onne command connive with operators of Bonded Terminals to transfer containers,” he said.

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