The United Action Front of Civil Society, otherwise known as the organised Civil Society of Nigeria at the end of the review meeting of its National Coordinating Team today, Sunday unequivocally decries the prevailing harrowing hardship currently being experienced by Nigerians in the wake of recent choking economic policies imposed on the country by the newly inaugurated administration of Sen Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
We also denounce the insensitive and unconscionable imposition of government policies without proper consultations and engagement with stakeholders and citizens in spite of the foreseeable overriding negative effects of these policies on the Nigerian masses and therefore, we bemoan the renewed despair, hardship and hopelessness foisted on Nigerians as consequences of the policies of the newly inaugurated regime of Bola Tinubu of the APC to levy the masses to enrich the powerful.
The organised Civil Society also make bold to assert that the newly foisted monetary policy of the APC government purportedly aimed at eliminating the discrepancies in Nigeria’s exchange rate has also further worsened the multi-dimensional poverty amongst over 40% of Nigeria populace as evidenced in the free fall of Naira to a despicable new low hitherto never experienced or imagined in the history of Nigeria. The new administration appears unmindful of the ripple effects of the devaluation of Naira, considering low level of production and huge dependence on import for household and industrial items in Nigeria.
Similarly, against expectations that the inception of the new administration will offer reliefs in tandem with its presidential campaign slogan of “Renewed Hope”, Nigerians have unfortunately been plunged into and bombarded with renewed despair and hardship without assurance of HOPE, as the aftermath of Tinubu’s inauguration address immediately sparked off a new chapter of sufferings for Nigerians following the mindless and insensitive announcement of removal of Nigeria’s questionable subsidy on premium motor spirit (PMS) by government without sound alternative economic measures in place to ameliorate and cushion the probable far-reaching harsh effects of the concomitant outrageous hike in the pump price of PMS as the much-touted subsidy removal has today plunged most households in the rural as well as urban communities, who are already experiencing untold hardship, into a tougher time in eking their living.
Furthermore, to make matter worse, amidst the mounting adversity occasioned by the wrongheaded anti-poor policies of the new administration, it is indeed inconceivable and shocking that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) could announced a planned 114% increment in salaries and emoluments for Nigeria’s political rulers notwithstanding the claim by presidential spokesperson that no approval has been given to the recommended increases of salaries and emolument announced by RMAFC, which more or less confirmed the insensitivity and callousness of the ruling elite, as it is instructive that neither has the presidential spokesperson deny knowledge of the planned increment nor has RMAFC recanted its announcement.
The organised Civil Society under the leadership of Olisa Agbakoba,SAN, Nkoyo Toyo, Shehu Sanni, among others therefore calls on Nigerians to reject the ungodly increase in salaries and emoluments of political office holders under any guise as such will amount to crude assault on the psyche of the Nigerian people.This planned increment simply appears to us as a clever way of levying Nigerian masses and poor to pay the Rich and Powerful and to increase their already overblotted loots even when there’s no clear measures to cushion the harsh effects of the outrageous hike in the pump price of fuel. This is a clear case of “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul”
Again, while the Nigerian masses are yet groaning as a result of the unbearable impact of increase in pump-price of premium motor spirit (PMS), the government has again desperately gone ahead to also announce increase in the electricity tariff effective from July 1, 2023. The Civil Society considers the cumulative crunching effects of anti poor policies of the Tinubu administration as punitive and unacceptable to majority of Nigerians.
It is again regrettable that the new administration appears oblivious of the implications of creating a mass population of dependents and paupers, who will be forced out of jobs and further consigned to the bracket of multi-dimensional poverty as a consequence of the punitive economic policies that deplete household income and make survival difficult for majority of Nigerians, which raises the question, whether Tinubu believes that the mass of the Nigerian people voted for him as President? For It is regrettable that the new administration of Tinubu rather than offer Nigerians a new lease of life, has continued with the anti-people’s policies of its predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari.
We also wish to alert Nigerians to the populist stunt of the Tinubu administration, which is divisive and laced with booby-traps, the likes of the recent black market court injunction restraining Labour from exercising its inalienable right to protest and strike action, aimed at ambushing and destabilising the labour movements and the organised civil society in demobilising angry Nigerians and Youths. To this end, we call on Nigerians, especially labour, the organised civil society and youths to remain vigilant and resolute in rejecting and resisting the renewed anti-people policies of the Tinubu administration inflicting despair and hopelessness on the country.
Finally, the organised Civil Society calls for immediate independent probe of the subsidy scam for which innocent Nigerians are being unduly punished and dehumanized in the name of subsidy removal. We demand immediate halt of the planned increase in electricity tariff and the imposed outrageous pump price fuel as there are no justifications for aggravating the pains and anguish of the masses any further for the purpose of increasing the overblotted loots and comfort of the Rich and Powerful.
Head, National Coordinating Centre,
United Action Front of Civil Society