About 120 civil society organisations have designated Monday, June 12, as a day of protest against gasoline price increases and fraud involving petrol subsidies since President Bola Tinubu announced the elimination of the subsidies.
The organisations claimed to have seen firsthand the suffering and chaos that the shift of the price and burden of the bogus subsidy scheme had caused for common Nigerians.
“The coalition directed all of its affiliates, allies, and stakeholders in the 36 states and Abuja to jointly mobilise for the June 12 Citizens Mass Protests and to engage in dynamic protest actions and demonstrations, during their June 12 commemorative events that are in line with their peculiar environment, in order to pressure the Tinubu government to end its imposed economic and political crisis in the country.”
The groups said that factual data demonstrated that the expense of governance and the privileges of certain elites in the nation were mostly to blame for the difficulties in the Nigerian economy in a statement that was signed by the Head of the Secretariat of the National Coordinating Centre, Olawale Okunniyi.
According to Okunniyi, the groups made the decision to organise and “lead the collective intervention” in order to stop the subsidy reduction from turning into another way to further cripple the country’s economy while depriving the poor of their rights.
He added that the leaders, at their meeting, had also consensually agreed that all forms of “phantom subsidies” must be removed, adding that “targeting just the fuel subsidy is anti-people”.
“The coalition has decided to mobilise and lead the collective intervention of Nigerian citizens, youths and the masses to ensure that the elite consensus to remove the fraudulent fuel subsidy in Nigeria, does not become another opening for state finance cartel to manipulate and exploit the subsidy removal policy, to further dis-empower and pauperize the vulnerable and poor in Nigeria, in order not to plunge the vast majority of Nigerians into deeper economic crises, crimes and insecurity.
Since the national elite appears to agree that the bogus fuel subsidy scheme should be scrapped, it is clear that all other subsidy programmes in Nigeria suffer from the same ailment of government corruption and poor administration. Choosing to focus only on the fuel subsidies is anti-human. All fraudulent or dishonest handouts must end.
Okunniyi also stated that the organisation would compile and generate citizen concerns regarding the $800 million World Bank loan that the Buhari administration has secured and how it will be used. Additionally, the group would raise concerns regarding whether or not the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission Limited would “remain as an arm of government, and its true powers in the context of Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, its holistic implementation, and the pricing of PMS in Nigeria.”