Protesters hit the streets over subsidy removal, fuel price hike
There was a lengthy disruption at the National Assembly’s main entrance popularly known as Mopol gate on Thursday as protesters storm the area to register their support for the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu.
It will be recalled that since the president pronounced the removal of the fuel subsidy during his inauguration speech in June, there has been consistent hike in the price of fuel across the country, much to the frustration of many Nigerians.
But the hike in the price of the commodity took a leap on Tuesday on Tuesday when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited and other oil marketers raised it to between N617 and N630/litre from the N537/litre it was sold before.
The development, however, has since generated mixed reactions from Nigerians.
But in response to the public complaints, the convener of Stand Up Nigeria, Sunday Attah, who led the protest in Abuja, stated that the Tinubu-led administration has done the right thing and should be supported to deliver on the dividends of democracy.
He said, “The announcement on the 29th May 2023, by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that the subsidy on fuel has been removed has come with mixed feelings.
“While some have hailed it as apt and timely others have expressed reservation that it may cause further hardship on the citizenry.
“You will recall that the President anchored the policy on the fact that there was no provision for subsidy payment in the 2023 budget hence cannot be sustained.”
Attah added, “Apart from that, the country was bleeding seriously through many leakages occasioned by corruption in high places chiefly among which are the claims on subsidy payments to many firms.
“After observing the initial reaction to the measure and the attendant panic buying and other impacts on the socio-economic life of Nigerians, we wish to state that the President has done the right thing by removing the subsidy as the advantages of doing so outweigh the disadvantages.
“We have observed that the initial hiccups of long queues at the fuel stations have disappeared while access to petroleum products has become easier and guaranteed as people can now drive into filling stations and refill their tanks without wasting unnecessary man hours on queues.”
Justifying the subsidy removal, Attah noted that the problem of fuel scarcity and the attendant hardship on citizens has been solved and people can now use their time for other productive engagements.
The Pro-Tinubu protest convener added, “The opposition and those elements opposed to the measure should know that election is over and all hands must be on deck to support the government to do what is right and in the interest of the people of the country.
“Past administrations have attempted to remove fuel subsidies but have not been successful due to opposition on the wrong belief that the implication of subsidy removal is just the increase in the price of fuel.
“There was also the suspicion that the proceeds made from the removal will be embezzled and the gains will not get to the intended beneficiaries.”
Attah added, “But President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has shown that he has the integrity to use the funds for the development of the country and has announced a number of palliatives to cushion the effects of the increase in the price of fuel.
“We believe other measures would follow that will make Nigerians willing to see the increase in the price of petroleum products as a necessary sacrifice for growing the economy.”
“By the time the monies freed from subsidy removal are appropriated and plowed back into the economy and all sectors begin to witness quantum growth, Nigerians would begin to see the positive effects of subsidy removal,” he said.