By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The Campaign for Democracy (CD) has warned the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) not to toy with the idea of fuel subsidy removal, saying it’s an open invitation to unrest.
The group threatened that if a dime should be added to the price of fuel, it would lead Nigerians in protest to flush out the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Nigerian political space.
CD gave this warning in a letter titled “The NGF’S proposed fuel subsidy removal: We will pull down the whole Democratic structure in the country,” and addressed to NGF Chairman, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who is also the governor of Ekiti State.
The group, while handing down the warning, informed that the Forum should be reminded that some of the remnants of the June 12 and anti-military campaigners were still very much around to resist any anti-people’s policy in the country by either the Federal or state governments.
The pro- democracy group, in the letter signed by its president, Abdul Usman Bako, and National General Secretary, Rev’d (Pst) Ifeanyi Odili, respectively, and copied to the Senate and House of Representatives, said the planned fuel hike would serve as an invitation to its members ‘to pick up their battle gears to go back to the streets to confront the government,’ adding: ‘Sir, we beseech you to heed our advice.
‘The attention of the Campaign for Democracy, CD, has been drawn to the proposed fuel subsidy removal and fuel price hike by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum with serious apprehension.
‘We wish to inform the Nigerian Governor’s Forum that some of the remnants of the June 12 and anti-military campaigners are still very much around to resist any anti-people’s policy in Nigeria by either the Federal Government or the Nigerian Governors Forum. The planned fuel hike will serve as an invitation to them to pick up their battle gears to go back to the streets to confront the government,’ it said.
CD said it was confusing the fuel subsidy the Forum was currently talking about, noting that the Federal Government had since Sunday 1st January, 2012, announced its removal under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, querying: ‘We, therefore, ask which other subsidy is NGF talking about?’
The rights group, while arguing that subsidy meant that a fraction of the price that consumers were supposed to pay to enjoy the use of petroleum products was paid by government in order to ease the cost-burden on consumers, further queried: ‘However, are Nigerians truly benefitting from the said subsidy as being touted by every successive government in Nigeria?
‘Sir, you will agree with us that our fuel is being diverted and smuggled out of Nigeria by certain powerful business and political class.
‘Sometime, ago, according to Mr Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum, “a large volume of petroleum products is diverted by corrupt senior government officials.” Kachikwu said these officials connive with marketers and transport owners to divert already subsidized fuel from depots to neighboring West African countries including Cameroon, Chad, Togo and Benin. This is what CD thinks NGF should address rather than inflicting further pains on Nigerians,’ the group. counseled.
‘It is surprising to us and many Nigerians that NGF which ought to be a refuge for the suffering masses of Nigeria can be seen to parade itself around with the intent to impose further hardship on the already pained Nigerians,’ it added.
CD noted sadly that the country’s economic and security situation had gone from worse to worst, since the inception of the present APC-led Federal Government, saying that it had been worsened, deteriorated and impaled more than the dark days of the military eras.
According to the rights group, the APC-led government has decorated Nigerians with sorrow and unending gnashing of teeth, saying it felt it was enough of the ruling party’s party’s misrule as it stood to reject further pains on Nigerian people.
‘We make bold to say that Nigerians have been in frustration since the adventure of APC in government. We feel it is enough. Enough of APC misrule! We stand to reject further pains on Nigerian people.
‘Sir, if we may ask you, do you know the price of cassava flakes, garri, in the market? It is N750 per kongo. Do you know that Nigerians can no longer afford to eat rice or beans?
‘Under this APC government, Nigerians have been badly frustrated, as well, intimidated under the watch of NGF.
‘To our chagrin, some of you, our current leaders, with whom we fought the military juntas together because of maladministration and high-handedness are part of this wicked team!,’ CD said.
‘In summary, we want to draw a line that if a dime is added to the price of fuel in this country, we will lead the rest of Nigerians to flush out APC from the Nigerian political space. Sir, we beseech you to heed our advice,’ it warned.