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Abdulsalami Abubakar cautions against fuel subsidy removal

Children from extremely poor background

. Zulum blames insecurity on infrastructure deficit, greed

A former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, has cautioned the Federal Government against removing fuel subsidy, warning that it would throw many more Nigerians into poverty.

The former leader spoke yesterday at the 19th Daily Trust Dialogue held in Abuja on Thursday with the theme “2023: The Politics, Economy, and Insecurity.”

He spoke against the backdrop of the government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy in the second half of this year, during which Nigerians may pay up to N340 or more per litre of fuel.

Abubakar, who was the chairman of the occasion, advised the government to dismiss the idea, as the current insecurity and harsh economic situation in the country.

He said: “Insecurity in the country is worsened by our dear economic situation. Unemployment and underemployment remain at a high level. Over 18 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty. All of these tend to have negative effects on security.

“In fact, Nigeria now faces a full security crisis that is confounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the banditry in many states in Northern Nigeria.

“Most of these have disrupted the final value chain across the country and negatively impacted the ability of Nigeria to produce, process, and distribute.

“There is a continuous rise in the prices of food items beyond the reach of many Nigerians. On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November. We all know that when this happens, it will push many millions of Nigerians into poverty.”

Unemployment and underemployment remain at a high level. Over 18 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty. All of these tend to have negative effects on security.

Security challenges

Abubakar also argued that Nigeria is once again at crossroads, as insecurity has become its single, most difficult challenge leading to thousands of deaths and millions of internally displaced persons in the country

Agreeing, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, also attributed the insecurity situation on infrastructural deficits and the abysmal attitude of governors to education over the years.

Zulum, whose state has remained the most devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency, also blamed the Federal Government for the spill overs by not addressing the issues properly.

He said: “The major problem we are having in Nigeria is corruption, whether we like it or not. Most of the funding meant to provide services to the people are channelled to the melting purse of torturous bureaucratic ministerial and departmental system.”

He argued that the only way to bring about peace is for politicians to eschew this attitude of accumulating huge amounts of wealth.

“The only way we can fight insecurity is by becoming resilient enough. If we are not resilient enough, you can’t provide security,” he added.

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