A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Monday, warned the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari to drop the plan to remove subsidy on petroleum products.
Falana, who is the Interim Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid and Beyond, described the planned subsidy removal as anti-people, warning that the Buhari regime should jettison the plan in public interest or be prepared for a popular uprising.
The senior lawyer made this known in a statement titled, ‘Why Nigerians should join the anti-poverty rallies’.
Recall that the National Economic Council led by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said it would take a decision on petroleum subsidy removal in June when the six-month period for subsidy payment in the 2022 budget elapses.
However, a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities strongly warned the Federal Government against removing the subsidy, saying it would worsen poverty in the country.
Commenting on the planned subsidy removal, Falana said it is very disappointing that the Buhari regime has concluded plans to remove subsidy on petroleum products after failing to hasten the implementation of the Autogas project.
The statement partly read, “Having failed to fast track the implementation of the autogas project the Buhari administration has concluded plans to increase the price of PMS notwithstanding its reverberating effect on the cost of goods and services in the country.
“Another justification for increase is that it will curb the smuggling of fuel from Nigeria to neighbouring countries. The implication is that the people of Nigeria are being punished for the criminal activities of smugglers.
“Since the actions of the Federal Government cannot be justified we are therefore compelled to call on the economically marginalised Nigerian people to participate in the rallies scheduled to hold throughout the country on January 27 and February 1, 2022 at the instance of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress as well as the progressive extraction of Civil Society Organisations. The victims of the neoliberal economic policies of the Federal Government have nothing to lose but their chains.
“Instead of supporting the planned increase in the price of fuel to N302 per litre the Nigerian Governors Forum ought to adopt measures to end the alleged smuggling of over 60 million litres per day. However, since the rallies are designed to warn the Federal Government to stop further provoking the Nigerian people it is hoped that all anti people’s economic policies will be jettisoned in the public interest. Otherwise, the regime should be prepared for a popular uprising if it goes ahead to remove the so called full subsidy or under recovery in June 2022 or thereafter.”