Abdulsalami to FG: Fuel price hike recipe for chaos | Dailytrust

Abdulsalami to FG: Fuel price hike recipe for chaos

Former head of state, retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar
Former head of state, retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar

A former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has cautioned the Federal Government against increasing the pump price of petroleum, saying it would push millions of Nigerians deeper into poverty.

Petrol currently sells for between N162 and N165 per litre. But the National Economic Council had reportedly recommended N302 per litre as part of government’s plan to fully deregulate the sector and eliminate monthly subsidy payments.

Speaking in Abuja at the 19th Daily Trust Dialogue, Abdulsalami said the proposed fuel price hike would worsen the condition of millions of young people and women, the demographic groups most affected by the country’s sick economic and acute insecurity.

He warned that the worsening economic and security situations during an election year make for a very challenging period for Nigeria that must be carefully managed by all concerned.

Abdulsalami, who chaired the dialogue, said though the country’s economic growth rates and inflation had improved somewhat in the last three months as official figures showed, the impact on the lives and wellbeing of the ordinary Nigerian was suspect. He said: “Insecurity in the country is worsened by our dire economic situation. Unemployment and underemployment remain at the record levels, and over 80 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty.

“In fact, Nigeria now faces a food security crisis that is compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and banditry in many states of northern Nigeria.

“Both of these have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process, and distribute food.

“The result is a continuing rise in the prices of food items beyond the reach of many Nigerian families.

“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November by the NNPC. When this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.”

The ex-leader said the frustrations of youths and women occasioned by the country’s sick economy and insecurity could easily boil over into a national conflagration worse than the ENDSARS protests.

Ex-VP Atiku Abubakar, Ex-Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III

Ex-VP Atiku Abubakar, Ex-Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III

“These are not doomsday predictions, but a warning to which all stakeholders must pay heed,” he emphasized.

Abdulsalami urged governments at all levels to redouble their efforts and channel more resources towards securing peace.

Fuel price hike will worsen hunger – Northern elders’ spokesman 

The spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, (NEF), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who also spoke at the dialogue, said increasing fuel price would worsen hunger in the country. He cautioned that any increase in fuel price would force many Nigerians into desperation.

He said: “Government is committed to raising the price of fuel. One of the worst things you can do is to create huge additional hunger around the cost of living, cost of fuel, cost of prices, forcing the people more into desperation and you want to have an election a few months after that.

“The more unhappy the citizens, the more they feel they don’t have a stake in the system. Food security is serious and the possibility of hunger has never been more real”.

He asked: “What qualifies the current class of governors to become governors? How does a country of 230 -250 million people end up with the kind of people with so much power as governors? There must be something really broken about our political system, our democracy that it isn’t working. It is throwing up the wrong people to occupy and carry huge powers.

“90 percent of our governors have no business being anywhere near power. And I say this because they don’t have the preparation, the background, the competencies to be governors, and yet because of the democratic processes they won the election, So, that’s the first thing. We have the wrong people wielding power over people that are desperate for new and effective leadership.

“We need an administration that should pay attention to the integrity of the 2023 elections and security is a serious possibility”.

Baba-Ahmed described the cost of governance as too much, saying “From the north, we have 19 governors, legislature, the judiciary, the cost of governance alone can solve the problems of banditry and kidnapping and poverty and education”.

Expect decision on petrol subsidy removal in June – NEC

The National Economic Council yesterday said a decision on the removal of petrol subsidy would be taken in June when the provision for its payment in the 2022 budget expires.

Nasarawa State Governor Abdulahi Sule, told reporters after the NEC meeting that it was understandable that the provision for the payment of fuel subsidy was made in the 2022 budget only until June. He said the NEC was yet to take a position on fuel subsidy removal despite its series of deliberations on the matter.

Edo State Governor Obaseki said petroleum, currently selling for N162-165 per liter in Nigeria, “sells a hundred percent higher in other countries.”

He said the federal government was spending about N2trn on petroleum subsidy, an amount, he said, could have been used for other purposes.

Obaseki said the NNPC had been unable to remit the expected N200bn into the Federation Account Allocation Committee because of payment of fuel subsidy.

Govs to engage NLC, TUC on proposed N302 fuel price

The Nigerian Governors Forum will engage the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress on the N302 fuel price recommended by the National Economic Council.

Addressing newsmen at the end of forum’s meeting in Abuja, which started Wednesday night and ended in the early hours of yesterday, NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, said: “We’ll be engaging the NLC as sub-national leaders and with a view to ensuring that the outcome of our engagement will also be fair to the national discourse.

“The report is not from the governors. The National Economic Council, chaired by the vice president of Nigeria has been dealing with this issue over time and really, it is not up to sub-national to decide on what happens to fuel price.”

Subsidy removal: Kano NLC, TUC ready for nationwide protest

The Kano State chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress yesterday asked their members to be ready for a mass protest scheduled for January 27 against the federal government’s plan to remove the fuel subsidy.

NLC Chairman, Kabiru Ado Minjibir, told his members that the protest would be confined to a designated area to avoid a possible hijack by hoodlums.

Also speaking, TUC Chairman, Mansur Isa Adamu, said his union was fully prepared to mobilize members to join the nationwide protest.

Varsity workers mobilise for mass action

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) yesterday commenced mobilisation for a protest against the planned fuel subsidy removal which it described as “evil and unpatriotic”.

Speaking at its 41st Regular National Executive Council meeting, SSANU President, Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, said: “In the next few days, the Nigeria Labour Congress is mobilizing all the Nigerian workers both formal and informal to protest this evil and very unpatriotic thought of removing fuel subsidy in Nigeria.

“We have it in good authority that about N200 will be added to the N162 or N170 depending on where you are buying as fuel price in Nigeria. This, NLC in which SSANU is an affiliate, totally rejects and will participate fully in this protest across Nigeria on the 27th of this month.”

By Abdullateef Salau, Muideen Olaniyi,  Baba Martins, Saawua Terzungwe, Idowu Isamotu (Abuja) & Salim U. Ibrahim (Kano)

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