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NEF tells to hasten palliatives to citizens

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By Abraham Adekunle

Group says Tinubu’s first few weeks worsened the situation of Nigerians.

Northern leaders under the aegis of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has asked President Bola Tinubu to hasten palliatives by the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the petrol subsidy removal. They stated that the citizens are suffering. In the same vein, the forum asked the government to explain to Nigerians why they are suffering and finding it difficult to feed their families. This is contained in a statement signed by the director of publicity and advocacy of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

According to the group, the first few weeks of Tinubu’s administration will be recorded in history as the act of leadership that made bad situations considerably worse, while also failing to explain why. The elders said that it is the most important thing at this point in the administration to communicate with Nigerians in a manner that will make them understand why they had to endure the current economic instability and go through major pains. The citizens need to also know whether these pains are inevitable or avoidable.

Fuel subsidy removal is the catalyst for the current economic situation.

Two months into the regime of President Tinubu, it seems that one can trace the current unfolding economic realities to the first act of governance performed. Tinubu categorically mentioned in his inaugural speech to Nigerians that he was implementing the removal of fuel subsidy. “Fuel subsidy is gone,” he was quoted to have said. From there, the effects kicked in. The price of premium motor spirit took a hit immediately. It launched to more than N500 from the previous N187 before finally settling for N617 as the official price.

Some filling stations even sell as high as N700. As a result, the cost of transportation had a commensurate increase. Bus fares tripled. There was a domino effect in other sectors of the economy. It seems that every stakeholder or participant in the economy was waiting for the fuel subsidy removal to increase their prices. The electricity distribution companies (DisCos), through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), had informed power consumers that the rate of tariff would be increased before the lower legislative chamber intervened.

Forum tells FG to provide relief to starving and jobless Nigerians.

However, the forum also said that as citizens are entitled to knowing the details of the current situation in the country, the administration must take a firm grip over efforts to interrogate the past and make it account for its abuse of Nigeria’s trust and commonwealth. “Nigerians will be more amenable to tolerating hardship if they see a genuine effort by the administration not to draw boundaries around what can be asked of those who were responsible for our current state,” the statement said.

Therefore, the NEF called on the Federal Government to fasten the distribution of palliatives that will cushion the prevailing hardship the citizens are passing through. The group said that the government must provide relief to millions of Nigerians who are facing imminent starvation and total loss of any means of livelihood. They said that time and informed targeting with a good chance of massive impact are of essence. “It is important to mention here that amounts being handed over to state governors to design palliatives are unlikely to make the type of impact that should keep hungry and desperate populations patiently waiting,” they said.

Citizens are urged to be patient with the government.

They advised the administration to cultivate the values of respect for the citizen, humility of the leader, and a willingness to build flexibility into policies as great virtues that should serve it and the country well. They also advised Nigerians to be patient with the government and avoid illegal actions at all cost. But it seems a part of the populace has turned deaf ears to it as a group of protesters broke down the main gate to the National Assembly and forced their way into the premises.

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