We all know by now, at least to an extent, about the NLC (National Labour Congress) strike in protest to the removal of fuel subsidy.
Subsidy is monetary assistance given to a person or a group in support of an enterprise and regarded as being in the public interest. The Federal Government has apparently refused to budge on this issue stating that to build a stronger economy, subsidies have to be removed and this money used to better the people. I agree that subsidy removal is essential at some point in a country’s economy but in this case, its hurting rather helping the masses and this is definitely not the right time for Nigeria.
With the history of corruption in the Nigerian government, we expect the extra money to get lost somewhere along the line as usual. Its all summed up in the words of Fela Durotoye, ‘Wasteful leadership cannot make prudent investment’. Even the foreign aid we receive, can the Federal Government honestly say that this and this are the products of the money?
Diesel subsidy was removed about 5 years ago – we are paying N161 for diesel – and we are yet to see exactly what that extra money was used for. If there was clear evidence of the benefits of this subsidy removal, the number of people protesting would definitely reduce. Still, the increased price of fuel is at a disadvantage to the majority of Nigerians. I saw this quote somewhere ‘One day the poor would have nothing to eat but the rich’. Funny but if care is not taken, it just might be that serious. The strike itself, though a commendable action combined with the supposedly peaceful protests, have contributed to the problems of some Nigerians. A few people have died but how many more? Do you know how many people have lost money that they would have made today? With the increased general price level, how many people can cope and for how much longer? Everybody’s for #Occupy Nigeria but for how long?
The president of the Federal Republic released a broadcast in which he announced the 25% salary cuts for executive branch politicians also stating that all ministries and departments had to make cuts this year. He also announced that government overseas traveling would be reduced. Mr President is however not willing to budge on reinstating the subsidy. We should note however that 25% is relative. 25% of N20 is not the same as 25% of N600 billion so let’s not jump just yet.
It is however very refreshing to see the enthusiasm that most Nigerians have with regards to #Occupy Nigeria. One thing about Nigerians that I admire is our ability to come together and stand as one for a cause we believe in.
My main concern right now is MM2 – Murtala Mohammed International Airport.(It is the international airport in Lagos). The crowd at the airport is alarming. Personally, I’m hoping that the strike is suspended long enough for me to go to school. That’s selfish I know. But right now, I have a different concern, if the strike is called off just in time for me to leave, what about the people who have camped there for 12 hours and counting as I type this?
We all want peace. We’re all for #Occupy Nigeria! We all want a reversal of the Federal Government’s decision but in the end what? What about the ripple effect? When all is said and done, the losses made during this period cannot be reconciled immediately. People still have to feed their families … There will be unrivaled queues in banking halls … Bills have to be paid – Strike or not … Life has to go on! I’m completely in support of these protests, don’t get me wrong and I believe in the rationale behind the strike. Like my friend rightly observed and I quote,
“Only In Nigeria, the Minister of Finance has a Foreign Account, Minister of Transport has never taken public transport, Minister of Aviation flies private, Minister Of Education has all her children schooling overseas.”
there is a great level of hypocrisy. Many youths are complaining that they have nothing to do or are bored or have been sleeping all day but the concluding part of my friend’s little speech goes thus:
Different sets of people have joined these protests. Some are actually joining the protests online. Any way you can be involved, join in. You’re not truly Nigerian if you dont participate in #OccupyNigeria one way or the other.