From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Nigerian Students and Youths Association (NISYA) has called on the federal government to end the monopoly in cement production and distribution in Nigeria.
Protesting an alleged 100 per cent increase in cement price by the Dangote Cement Company in Benin City, the group said Nigerians can no longer tolerate cement price hikes.
Addressing newsmen during the protest in Benin, the spokesman for the group, Osemudamen Elvis Ogbidi, said they ‘reject the incessant increment in cement prices. We are suffering in Nigeria in all sectors, be it education, agriculture, health and security and now they said Nigerians should no longer build houses.
‘They increased cement from N2,000 to N4,000 in Edo State, yet the raw materials were gotten from Edo State.
‘You produce cement here, yet the price has been in increased by 100 per cent. In the North, cement is sold for N2,000 and here in Edo it is sold for N4,000, while in Abia State, a bag of cement is sold for N6,000,’ Ogbidi said.
He said the group is giving Dangote and other cement companies a 48-hour ultimatum to revert to the old price or the youth will mobilise to block the Benin by-pass and make sure every Dangote truck with cement is sent back.
‘We’re calling on the federal government to ban all forms of monopoly in the cement industry. If they support other cement companies the way they have supported Dangote, there will be competition in the industry and that will bring down the prices and companies will produce quality products for higher patronage.
‘If Dangote does not revert to the old price, we will barricade the by-pass and make sure every truck is sent back,’ Ogbidi warned.
A former Publicity Secretary of Nigerian Students and Youths Association, Ikehi Lawrence, complained about the government’s inability to have a good price control mechanism. He said that prices should not be increased arbitrarily.
‘My problem is that the government should be responsible and responsive. In a serious country, there must be price control mechanism. That is what the government should do,’ Lawrence said.