Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court has ordered the federal government to fix the prices of goods and petroleum products in Nigeria within seven days from Wednesday in accordance with Section 4 of the Price Control Act.
Justice Lewis-Allagoa, who gave the order while delivering judgement in a suit filed by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), against the Price Control Board and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), ordered the government to fix the prices of goods in the country to check high cost of goods and services in the country.
The judge specifically directed 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 include diesel, petrol motor spirit (PMS) and kerosene.
The court granted all the reliefs sought by the lawyer following the failure of the defendants to respond to the suit after they were served by the appellant.
Falana had asked the court to determine whether, by Section 4 of the Price Control Act, the first defendant (Price Control Board) is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any good of the kind specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.
He also urged the court for a declaration that by virtue of Section 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 spare parts, motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene.
The applicant further prayed the court for a declaration that the failure or refusal of the defendants to fix the prices of the listed items is illegal as it offends the provision of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Falana also demanded an order directing the defendants to fix the prices of products not later than seven days after the delivery of the judgement.
When the case was called yesterday, Falana told the judge that the case was filed in May 2023 and that the defendants were served with the processes but they have refused and failed to file any response or counter to it.
He, therefore, urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought since there is no counter from the respondents.
Justice Lewis-Allagoa, after listening to the senior lawyer, granted all the reliefs contained in the motion paper.
In an affidavit filed in support of the motion deposed to by a lawyer in Falana’s chambers, Taiwo Olawanle, stated that the first defendant, the Price Control Board, was established by the Price Control Act and 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 deponent averred 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 it’s spare parts, petroleum products, salt and sugar. The Act gave the first defendant powers to fix the prices of the above mentioned commodities.