The Nigerian Students and Youths Association (NISYA) has asked the Nigerian government to end all forms of monopoly in cement production and distribution in the country.
Specifically, the group in a protest in Benin City, Edo state, accused Dangote Cement Company, owned by African richest man, Aliko Dangote of increasing the price of its product by 100 per cent.
It gave the cement company and others 48 hours’ ultimatum to revert to the old price, adding that failure to heed the call would amount to blocking the highway to stop the distribution of cement in the state.
The spokesperson for the group, Osemudamen Elvis Ogbidi, said, “We reject the incessant increment in cement prices. We are suffering in all sectors ranging from education to agriculture, health, and security. Are they saying Nigerians should no longer build houses?
“They increased cement from N2, 000 to N4, 000 in Edo State, yet the raw materials are got from the 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.
“We are 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 Benin By-Pass and make sure every truck is sent back,” he said.
Also, a former Publicity Secretary of Nigerian Students and Youths Association, Mr Ikehi Lawrence said the bone of contention is the government’s inability to have a good price control mechanism.
He said that prices should not be increased arbitrarily.
“The problem is that the government should be responsible and responsive. In a serious country, there must be a price control mechanism. That is what the government should do,” he said.