A statement by the prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) condemning the rash anti-people actions of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari exemplified in the hike in petrol and electricity tariff at a time Nigerians are battling with the economic hardship occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the frightening insecurity eith almost the entire North East and North-West under continuous terror attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen and the so called armed bandits who are nothing but terrorists.
Nigeria is endowed with enormous natural and human resources sufficient to place it among the first 20 developed countries of the world. It is Africa’s largest producer of oil and the sixth largest oil producing country in the world. With a population of over 170 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and one time its largest economy. Coupled with the possession of over 100 tertiary institutions producing more than 200,000 graduates per annum, the country possesses abundant human capital critical for national development.
Despite its huge resource endowment, majority of its population wallow in abject poverty while unemployment and insecurity is growing. Its economic fortune has been dwindling due to a fall in the global price of crude oil and gross mismanagement of resources by officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal administration. The result is that the country has been caught in-between affluence and affliction.
Obsevers of Nigeria’s political evolution posit that bad leadership is a major factor why Nigeria has been reduced to a giant with clay feet.
Many observers believed that a focused political leader was desperately needed to rescue Nigeria from the depth of chronic indiscipline, disorder and decadence.
When in May 29, 2015, General Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as the President of Nigeria, his administration was expected to tackle several challenges that have hindered economic prosperity, sustainable security and overall national development in Nigeria.
This accounted for the goodwill that greeted the emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari as the sixth democratically elected President of Nigeria in May 2015.
President Buhari was then seen as a leader with firm character, integrity and determination to turn Nigeria around. However, against the expectations, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has ended up inflicting pains, penury and agony on a massive scale on Nigerians through the rash of anti-people actions and policy implementation.
Nigeria’s economy has been facing challenges largely due to the effects of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, massive corruption in government offices and the lack of transparency and accountability amongst officials of government at all levels. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, the Nigerian economy was already fragile.
Globally, the dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide. Organizations around the world are coming together and innovating to minimize the impact on public health and to limit disruptions to economies and supply chains.
Regrettably, in Nigeria and in the midst of the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, which has plunged different households into poverty and hunger, the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari in despicable, outrageous, uncivil, wicked and reprehensible policy hiked the rates of electricity supply and the pump price of premium motor spirit simultaneously.
Reportedly, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) had on Wednesday announced an increment of the pump price of premium motor spirit to N151.56 per litre. Earlier, before the PMS Price hike, the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) across the country on Tuesday began the implementation of a new electricity tariff regime of N66 per kilowatt.
Many analysts have attributed as rather wicked for government to hike the purchasing prices of commodities when other nations of the World are implementing different types of relief packages and funding aides to businesses in the formal and informal sectors of the economy to keep them operational irrespective of the vicissitudes of the Covid-19 PANDEMIC and its attendant consequences on businesses.
By increasing the price of fuel to an excruciating N151 while at the same time allowing the hike in electricity tariff from N30.23 per kwh to over N66, amidst rising economic plight of most Nigerians, the Buhari-Led administration has left no one in doubt that its agenda is to inflict pain and hardship on Nigerians to satisfy the selfish interests of officials of the administration whose wives and children are funded lavishly by the state and these women and kids are junketing around the globe even in the face of Covid-19 to shop from Dubai.
Relatedly, the frightening spate of insecurity, especially in the North-East and North-West Regions of the country occasioned by armed terrorism by the Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen is further heightening the concerns for social and economic security, which has seen mass hunger and poverty in Nigeria without any sincere attitude towards addressing it by the federal government.
OUR CONCERNS AND DEMANDS:
It is Unjustifiably distressing that the APC administration would increase the cost of essential commodities at a time the leadership of other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is instructive to add that our nation is doomed under the APC watch.
This is because, while other nations, even capitalist Nations such as France, US and UK are supporting businesses in the face of the prolonged lockdown caused by the global PANDEMIC of Covid-19, in Nigeria the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management did nothing but to rob poor Nigerians of the billions of Naira budgeted as palliatives and as we write there are widespread discontent and mass anger against the Ministry for lying that it undertook distribution of palliatives whereas Nigerians are aware that corruption and theft of public fund are the order of the day in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management.
We are by this statement demanding to know the rationale for these insensitive, irrational and inhumane economic wars against Nigerians who are already facing mass hunger, mass unemployment and mass killings?
We also challenge the Federal Government to publish details of its oil subsidy regime, including the involvement and interest of political leaders close to the corridor of power.
Has subsidy actually been removed? If so, do we still have it in budget? If we have deregulated, how come the situation and what is the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) doing to control price? Is the government collecting tax from citizens on every liter of petrol sold? Nigerians need to know. Why are the refineries not working despite the colossal amount quoted as been used for turn around maintenance.
Furthermore, we demand to know what exactly President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda in the face of the collapse of the economy and security is. Our fear is that the Buhari government is pushing Nigerians to the wall with its obnoxious and anti-people penchants and we caution that nobody should misinterpret the peaceful and law-abiding nature of Nigerians as a sign of weakness.
Therefore we call for the cancellation of the evil and inhumane hike in the rate of pump price of petrol and elecatricity as it is a travesty and would have a knock-on effect on millions of poor Nigerians who will struggle to meet the increased costs of transportation and basic goods. The development will eventually lead to increase in prices of goods produced by manufacturers, which will automatically result to increase in inflation. NIGERIANS SHOULD RISE UP AND REJECT THESE EVIL POLICIES OR BE ENSLAVED FOREVER.
We join voices with other stakeholders to urge the National Assembly to save the nation by calling the Executives to order before the nation plunges into chaos.
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko: National Coordinator.
Miss. Zainab Yusuf:
Director; National Media Affairs.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
September 4th 2020.