A pro- transparency non-governmental organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the governments’ ill-advised haste to hike the pump price of fuel across the country.
The price was hiked to N145 per liter.
HURIWA further warned that the spiraling implications would include a spike in social crimes and unrests.
HURIWA also dismissed the action of the government in adjusting the fuel price as reckless, insensitive and irrational.
It says it is meant to inflict maximum financial burden on the already absolutely impoverished millions of Nigerians especially the rural poor.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf.
HURIWA said the action of government amounted to imposing hardship on poor Nigerians for the failings of government.
The Rights group accused the government of failing to properly and transparently administer the fuel subsidy policy.
It also wondered why Nigerians could be made to suffer for the financial indiscretions of the elites who stole nearly a trillion Naira from the subsidy fund over the past few years.
“What has happened to all those Nigerian elites who mismanaged the huge sums approved as fuel subsidy fund?
“Why has this government not acted on the investigative findings of the National Assembly on the theft of fuel subsidy allocations by powerful businessmen, some of whom are still seen wielding influences in the topmost corridors of power in Abuja?” asked HURIWA.
In the thinking of the Rights group, the Federal government has goofed by inflicting this burden on Nigerians.
Especially when it has not practically implemented measures to build more functional refineries in Nigeria!
Rather, it continues to import petrol into a nation that is rated as the number 7th largest producer of crude oil in the world.
The Rights group believes that there is no justification for the hike in pump price of petrol when it is clear that transportation and the general costs of living will automatically go up in a nation with one of the highest unemployment rate globally.
HURIWA further accused the Federal Government of behaving like a slave of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
This is because of its capitulation to their misguided pressure to withdraw fuel subsidy even when Western Societies like the USA and UK have series of subsidies to farmers and other indigent citizens.
HURIWA said the hike in pump price of fuel has already started inflicting pains and economic adversities on poor Nigerians as transportation and prices of commodities have been jerked up since morning.
“We urge government to device immediate measures of paying fuel subsidy directly to the poorest members of the society who are both jobless and are caught up in the poverty circle.”
“Rather than abolish subsidy, the best strategy would have being to introduce better innovative ways of sending fuel purchasing vouchers directly to the nearly 80 million heavily impoverished Nigerians.
“What the government has done by this policy indiscretion is to create the enabling environment for the rapid expansion of social discontents and disaffections which could snowball into escalation of violent crime”.
“Why should government take such a draconian measure to hike the pump price of fuel when it has not created a single sustainable job for the nearly 80million unemployed Nigerians?” the group asked further.