The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) unequivocally condemns President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s hasty announcement on subsidy removal during his inaugural address on May 29, 2023.
The action amounts to inflicting a fresh round of pain, 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.
This was contained in a statement signed on Wednesday by CHRICED’s Executive Director, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi.
The other parts of the statement read;
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.
For an administration battling for legitimacy, particularly in light of the legal challenge to its electoral mandate, this is a troubling sign. CHRICED is of the position that this “bull in the China shop” approach to implementing the public policy would leave Nigerians more impoverished and traumatized than what they experienced under the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians went through hell in the last eight years as a result of the inhumane and draconian policies and programs 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.
For us in CHRICED, addressing the issue of subsidy is not just about the simplistic motion of declaring its removal. There are other issues such as Nigeria’s crude refining capacity and the need to revamp the country’s comatose refineries.
It is abundantly clear therefore that removing subsidies, 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 organized labour and all well-meaning civil society organizations 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 realize 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.