The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) spokesperson, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has told President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to take credit for the removal of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria.
Goldennewsng recalls that Tinubu, on the day of his inauguration into office, declared that the fuel subsidy era had ended.
The president’s announcement received a barrage of mixed reactions as marketers immediately hiked the price of fuel across petrol stations.
Speaking with journalists on the incumbent administration, Baba-Ahmed said he agreed with the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government.
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He, however, asked President Tinubu not to take credit for the action, stating that it was Buhari who removed the subsidy before leaving office.
The NEF spokesperson expressed concerns, however, about why the government had not provided palliatives to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
“Honestly, I don’t know how better he could have handled it. Incidentally, Tinubu didn’t remove the subsidy. Buhari did by providing for it until June when he knew the new administration would be in place. Tinubu came in to find out the subsidy had been removed. So, he shouldn’t take credit for removing the subsidy. Yes, he would have removed the subsidy if it was in place, but Buhari removed it,” Baba-Ahmed told Vanguard when speaking on the timing of the removal.
He added: “Yes, but the issue is ameliorating the effect of the removal by first providing for the attendant hardship, pain, and rising prices of things.
Yes, I agree with you in principle. If I were speaking for Tinubu, I would say, it is not my administration that removed the subsidy. It is Buhari. If he had done that, he would have been giving credit to where it belonged and blame to where it should be laid. Then, it is only on the palliatives that Tinubu will be held responsible. Yes, everybody agreed, it has to go, but do you just remove subsidy and cause a massive decline in our already desperate condition and circumstances under which we live where the cost of living is now ten times higher? It is a legitimate question for some relief. I also want to remind you that it is not the only thing likely to add up. The liberalisation of the exchange regime is also another area that will have a multiplier effect on Nigerians.
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“The increase in the cost of power is also another one. The increase in school fees as a result of the education loan is another one. If one is to advise the Tinubu administration, I will tell him to watch it and not to put too much burden on the already overburdened citizenry. As good as the policies are, some need to be critically examined before you roll them out, while others need to be examined with some level of compassion and sympathy so that you are not seen to be governing a country where 90% of the populace is in desperate choices and circumstances.”