The Centre for Transparency Advocacy and the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) have called on the Federal Government to revert to the old prices of petroleum products and initiate a dialogue on how to cushion the suffering experienced by Nigerians. They made this position known in separate releases made available to AkweyaTV.
Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, the Executive Director of CHRICED, unequivocally condemned what the NGO described as “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s hasty announcement on subsidy removal during his inaugural address on May 29, 2023.” The organisation says the action “amounts to inflicting fresh round of pains, suffering, and misery on Nigerians.”
While CTA recognises and supports the government’s decision to remove the subsidy in the interest of economic growth, Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director of CTA, says her organisation insists that such policy transitions should be carefully managed, considerate of the populace, and not impose undue hardships.
“NNPCL’s decision is adding further hardship to Nigerians who were already dealing with the shock of the president’s announcement without clear plans for the introduction of palliatives utilising the $800 million loan from the World Bank collected by the last administration,” said Faith Nwadishi. “This approach is grossly insensitive and counterproductive in the face of our challenging economic situation.”
CHRICED’s ED agrees with CTA in asking what plans the Tinubu government has put in place to combat economic saboteurs. He avers that “There seems to be no strategy, and as a result, citizens are now at the whims of exploiters who will undoubtedly prey on them.”
CHRICED also argues that the President’s unilateral pronouncement at the outset of his term, made without proper procedure or extensive discussions with stakeholders, has caused turmoil, which means, in his words, “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 NGOs, in calling for dialogue, contend that fuel subsidy is not the only drain pipe within government system in Nigeria but the President whose legitimacy is still being challenged is yet to address the other issues. “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,” says the CHRICED boss.
“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 subsidy, without addressing these other fundamentals would only give the initiative to greedy marketers to mindlessly exploit Nigerians,” Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi concluded.
The CTA, on the other hand, as an organisation interested in promoting transparency, fairness, and social justice in all sectors affecting the livelihood of Nigerians, wants the NNPC Limited to be transparent about the new pricing regime.
“We are calling on the NNPCL to offer a clear and transparent explanation,” says Faith Nwadishi of the CTA. “The Nigerian public deserves to understand the methodology and reasoning behind the new pricing structure, especially at a time when the citizens are already under significant economic strain.
The CTA strongly urges the NNPCL to address these concerns and provide comprehensive clarifications to Nigerians without delay. With the June 30th deadline for the fuel subsidy removal approaching, it is crucial for citizens to fully grasp the current happenings and the government’s future plans.”
Nwadishi says her organisation stands with Nigerians during this challenging period and commits to protecting their interests.
Both CHRICED and CTA are grantees of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s On Nigeria which aims to reduce corruption “by supporting Nigerian-led efforts that strengthen accountability, transparency, and participation.”