The Federal Government has seven days to fix the prices of goods and petroleum products, according to a ruling issued by the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday.
Justice The government was expressly instructed by Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa to set prices for milk, flour, sugar, salt and motor vehicles as well as for bicycles, matches, motorbikes and their spare parts. Petroleum products, such as kerosene, diesel and Premium Motor Spirit, were also included in this authority.
As part of her ruling in a lawsuit filed by human rights advocate Mr. Femi Falana against the Price Control Board and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who were named as the first and second defendants, the judge issued the order. The case number of the lawsuit is FHC/L/CS/869/2023.
Falana had come before the court to ask whether the first respondent is fulfilling its obligation under Section 4 of the Price Control Act to impose a price on any goods of the kind listed in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.
Falana stated: “A declaration that the respondents’ failure or refusal to fix the prices of motor vehicles and spare parts, flour, matches, milk, bicycles and spare parts, salt, sugar and petroleum products, including motor spirit, kerosene, diesel and petrol, is illegal as it violates the provisions of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap., Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“During the case’s hearing on Wednesday, plaintiff Falana informed the court that the notice motion was based on Section 4 (1) of the Price Control Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.In May 2023, the suit was filed, and he informed the court that the defendants had been served with the necessary paperwork.
However, they declined to provide a response or counter-documentation.As there has been no opposition from the respondents, Falana urged the court to grant all of the reliefs requested.Following her review of Falana’s submission, Justice Lewis-Allagoa noted that the respondents had not submitted a countersuit.
Citing established cases, the judge declared that “all the reliefs contained in the motion paper are hereby granted as prayed.”The Price Control Board, the first defendant, was created by the Price Control Act and is tasked with fixing a price on goods to stabilise the general price level, preventing the hoarding of goods, and protecting customers from exorbitant prices, among other things, according to Falana’s affidavit in support of the motion, which was deposed to by Taiwo E. Olawanle, a lawyer in his chambers.
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 essentially granted the first respondent the authority to set the prices for the vast majority of the commodities mentioned above.
“The first respondent is supposed to impose the price of the commodities mentioned above, but only petroleum products with set prices 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 by each passing day is becoming unbearable for consumers as prices of goods kept 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 no human being should be denied, are high because the first defendant did not engage in price fixing.
Additionally, customers bear the brunt of higher prices for goods since they usually bear the brunt of the consequences.