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Fuel subsidy: Don’t inflict fresh pain on Nigerians, group tells Tinubu

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has condemned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s immediate announcement of subsidy removal.

In a statement, Executive Director of the centre, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said the President’s action amounts to inflicting fresh round of pains, suffering, and misery on Nigerians.

“The President’s unilateral pronouncement at the outset of his term, made without proper procedure or extensive discussions with stakeholders, has caused turmoil, with petrol lineups forming around the nation.”

“CHRICED is of the position that this ‘bull in the China shop’ approach to implementing public policy would leave Nigerians more impoverished and traumatised than what they experienced under the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

“Furthermore, because of the interruptions produced by the announcement, Nigerians would be at the mercy of shady oil marketers and ruthless profiteers in the downstream sector of the petroleum business in the coming weeks.

“The key question is: what plan has the Tinubu government put in place to combat these economic saboteurs? There seems to be no strategy, and as a result, citizens are now at the whims of exploiters who will undoubtedly prey on them,” Zikirullahi said.

According to him, for an administration battling for legitimacy, particularly in light of the legal challenge to its electoral mandate, the development is a troubling sign.

He said, “For avoidance of doubt, Nigerians went through hell in the last eight years as a result of the inhumane and draconian policies and programmes of the previous Buhari-led APC administration.

“Therefore, the least Nigerians expect from the new government is strategic thinking supported by the ability to solve problems in a calm and calculated manner, which takes into account the welfare and well-being of citizens.

“For citizens grappling with the lingering aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, an extremely high rate of inflation, massive unemployment, slave wages, and the recent severe disruptions caused by the government’s demonetization policy, also known as the Naira redesign, the subsidy removal without taking into considerations other critical issues, will impose additional suffering on the people.

“Therefore, it is unacceptable that Nigerians who were pushed to their limits during the Buhari years would again be tasked to make more sacrifices when the administration itself is yet to provide the road map on how it intends to address the hemorrhage in the economy and Nigeria’s public finances.

“It is telling that President Tinubu, in all his appearances since assuming office, has never mentioned the astronomically high cost of governance, the pervasive corruption that has overtaken the nation, or what his administration will do to drastically address the mess in the system.”

The CHRICED boss added that addressing the issue of subsidy is not just about the simplistic motion of declaring its removal as there are other issues such as Nigeria’s crude refining capacity and the need to revamp the country’s comatose refineries.
He said, “It is abundantly clear therefore that removing subsidy, without addressing these other fundamentals would only give the initiative to greedy marketers to mindlessly exploit Nigerians.
“In the face of these realities, and for the fact that Tinubu’s approach has proved to be an extension of what was done in the last government, CHRICED calls on the organized labour and all well-meaning civil society organisations to brace up for the struggles ahead.
“As things stand, the removal of subsidy without any attempt to engage critical stakeholders is an indication that the Tinubu regime is just a continuation of the inhumane policies of General Buhari.
“The earlier all pressure groups realise this and wake up, the better for the resistance against inhumane and repressive policies, which do not put into consideration the effects of such implementation on ordinary citizens,” he said.

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