A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor Itse Sagay, has criticized the recent removal of petrol subsidies by President Bola Tinubu, calling it a hasty decision that has caused untold hardship for citizens.
In an interview on Channels TV, Sagay argued that the government should have waited for the commencement of domestic oil production before taking this step.
The renowned legal scholar and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), pointed to the Dangote refinery and the Port Harcourt refinery as examples of projects that could have eased the transition away from subsidies.
He said, “Petrol is critical to our lives. The cost of living is going up, and basic living is now expensive. I think we might have gone on for another six months and as internal production was coming up, then the subsidy can be removed.
“The immediacy and the sudden manner of the decision to remove petrol subsidy has created an immediate level of hardship which is almost becoming unbearable.
“I am not in full agreement with the way and order some of the things are being done now. On the issue of petrol, I would have been happier if the government had been patient to allow internal production to commence before removing the subsidy.
“Now, Dangote is now producing. And of course, the refinery in Port Harcourt is almost ready. Perhaps, if we had waited a little longer, the transition will not have been harsh. We are in it already but I think we are in competent hands and we will get out of it.
“We’ve been on this subsidy for decades and a few more months would not have killed us. You can see the difference in lifestyle now.”
Sagay also said there must be a stop to the “deterioration of the value of the naira”.
He said, “I never dreamt that there would be a time when the dollar would change for over N1,000 to a dollar. It has to stop, otherwise, it will destroy everything that the government is trying to do.”
He however expressed confidence in the new government and its ability to provide quality leadership for the Nigerian people.