The Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC) and a coalition of Civil Society Organisions (CSOs), Friday, threaten to picket all the airports across the country over the hike in the airfares introduced by the domestic airline operators, if the development is not reversed.
Recall that the domestic airline operators had increased airfares by 100 percent with effect from March 1. The development had reportedly pegged the least economy ticket at N50,000.
NYC and CSO’s demand came days after the Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) issued an interim order prohibiting the sudden hike in the price of airfares by the domestic airlines.
The President of NYC, Comrade Blessing Akinlosotu, who addressed the press conference on behalf of NYC and the CSOs in Abuja, while describing the sudden hike as hash, alleged that it was targeted at the youths, who he said, constituted the larger percentage of the country’s population.
To this end, he called on the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation to ensure that the reversal of the sudden airfares’ hike within 48 hours.
He said: “The Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC) in collaboration with the Civil Society Groups in Nigeria at her National Emergency Meeting of nationwide Stakeholders and other Youth Coalition Groups held in Abuja rose in unanimous anger to condemn the arbitrary, wicked, insensitive and unjustifiable hike in Air Fares across the Country to over 130%, by the Airline Operators.
“The Congress considers this offensive and harsh Policy an affront, mostly targeted at the Nigerian Youth, who have been at the receiving end of the present economic situation in the country. We are all aware that the Youth of this great nation are about 80% that purchase the cheapest economy class tickets of all flights, therefore, this insensitivity of the flights operators to make the cheapest economy tickets at a base fee of N50,000 is very inconsiderate of the realities of the present economic hardship across the federation, and places additional weight on the already over-burdened youth.
“The astronomical increase in airfares makes life more unbearable, brutish and short-lived for the Nigerian youth, most of whom are either unemployed or underemployed. We, therefore, condemn, in totality, the actions of the Airline Operators as extreme selfishness, and in pursuit of over ambitious Profit Margins.
“The immediate consequence is the exposure of impoverished Nigerian Youth to the vulnerability of current Insecurities associated with Road Transportation, being the only affordable means of Transport available to the Youths and poor Citizenry of this Country.
The Congress hereby calls on all Airline Operators in Nigeria to rescind this decision and immediately revert to more humane Airfares, or take the responsibility of all the dangers faced by the Nigerian Youth on Nigerian Roads as a result of their actions.
“We condemned the unilateral decision without due consultation and dialogue with us, as the major Customers who have now become victims of their actions. We are also calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Hon. Minister of Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other regulatory bodies to ensure the reversal of this Fare increase and also to supervise and ensure compliance with our demand within the next 48 Hours.
“In the event of failure of the Airline Operators to heed this demand, the Nigerian Youth and the entire Civil Society Groups will be forced to picket all Airports in Nigeria to peacefully demonstrate our anger”.