A prominent civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to hearken to the recommendation for introduction of stiff economic adjustments programmes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which will lead to astronomic hike in cost of pump price of fuel to over N350 per litre means Nigeria is effectively re-colonised and re-purchased by foreign capitalist forces.
In a media statement signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Media Affairs National Director, HURIWA, which rated the plot to jerk up the market rates of premium motor spirit, kicked against planned hike in the costs of fuel and withdrawal of subsidy by governments, accusing the federal government of seeking to siphon billions of tax payers fund under the dubious sub-heading of paying poor Nigerians N5,000 per month as cushioning effect.
The Rights group argued that Nigeria with a very doubtful statistics of the real poor citizens means that officials will simply steal public fund hiding under the fuel subsidy cash support as is being contemplated.
HURIWA stated that since 2015 till date that the President Muhammadu Buhari commenced the so- called disbursement of cash assistance to some poor Nigerians through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development, the ministry has come under massive focus of credible stakeholders for failing the accountability and transparency tests.
HURIWA said even the commonly subservient National Assembly has had several brushes with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development over alleged massive heist and diversions of public cash.
HURIWA said the empirical evidence that shows that Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world in 2018 with over 90 million extremely poor people, even amidst the so- called disbursement of conditional cash transfer to poor peasants by government, is a demonstration of the obvious fact that the promise of payment of replacement of fuel subsidy with N5,000 to poor Nigerians will obviously be mismanaged.
It said it is a perfect opportunity and alibi for rogues in the federal government to become richer off the back of the poor masses, even as economic adversities bite harder.
HURIWA said: “We urge Nigerians to speak out and reject this attempt at spreading toxic economic hardships as is being packaged by President Buhari with the support of IMF to pull out fuel subsidy. This government is the most recklessly corrupt, lawless and thieving administration since Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914.
“This government led Nigeria to the inglorious status as the poverty capital of the world. This government led Nigeria into two crushing economic depressions and under this government of Muhammadu Buhari, the unemployment statistics have continued to sky rocket, hospitals, roads, schools have all but collapsed and organized social crimes, terrorism and anarchy have assumed gargantuan proportions.
“The attempt to hike the purchasing price of fuel will lead to the devaluation of Naira because it will lead to a spiral general price adjustments of goods and services. The consequential economic burdens to be transferred to the over 100 million absolutely poor citizens will lead to a Bonanza of terrorism, organized crimes and mass murders in Nigeria once it is effected.”
HURIWA recalled with total rejection that the Nigerian National petroleum company (NNPC) on Tuesday hinted that a litre of petrol may sell between N320 and N350 in 2022.
This, it said, was because the law does not provide for a subsidy, hence its removal in the coming year.
The Company’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Malam Mele Kyari, made the disclosure during his presentation at the World Bank Nigeria Development Update, November 2021 edition titled “Time for Business Unusual” in Abuja.
The IMF Article IV Staff Mission has advised the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to completely discard with fuel and electricity subsidies in Nigeria.
This formed the highlight of the concluding statement of the Article IV staff Mission to Nigeria, released this week, HURIWA recalled.
It said, “The complete removal of regressive fuel and electricity subsidies is a near-term priority, combined with adequate compensatory measures for the poor.
“The mission stressed the need to fully remove fuel subsidies and move to a market-based pricing mechanism in early 2022 as stipulated in the 2021 Petroleum Industry Act.”
HURIWA said the acceptance to transfer the poisonous economic pills to Nigerians, as satanically recommended by the IMF, regarding the imminent withholding of subsidy on fuel, shows that a part of Nigeria’s Sovereignty has been sold and bought by the global lending institution.
It said the clearest sign of re-colonialism is the incapacity of the elected politicians to carry out their jobs to satisfy public interest, in line with the unambiguous provisions of the fundamental objectives of state policy in chapter 2 of the constitution and for the policies to be tailored towards promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest percentage of the citizenry.