Civil society groups numbering about 120 have set aside Monday, June 12, to protest petrol subsidy fraud and the hike in fuel prices since the announcement of the subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu.
The groups said they had observed the hardship and anarchy that the transfer of the cost and burden of the fraudulent subsidy regime, had brought on ordinary Nigerians.
“The coalition directed all its affiliates, allies, and stakeholders in the 36 states and Abuja, to collaboratively mobilise for the June 12 Citizens Mass Protests, and to undertake dynamic protest actions and demonstrations, during their June 12 commemorative events that are in tandem with their peculiar environment, in compelling the Tinubu’s government to stem its foisted economic and political crisis in the country”
In a statement signed by the Head of the Secretariat of the National Coordinating Centre, Olawale Okunniyi, the groups said empirical data showed that the cost of governance and the privileges of certain elites in the country, were largely responsible for the problems in the Nigerian economy.
Okunniyi said the groups had decided to mobilise and “lead the collective intervention” to prevent the subsidy removal from becoming another avenue to further plunge the nation’s economy while disempowering the poor.
He added that the leaders, at their meeting, had also consensually agreed that all forms of (*12*) 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 there seems to be a national elite consensus that the fraudulent contraption called fuel subsidy should be removed, it is therefore obvious that all other subsidy regimes in Nigeria are plagued with the same disease of corruption and official mismanagement. Targeting just the fuel subsidy is anti-people. All corrupt/phantom subsidies must be removed”.
Okunniyi also said the group would collate and generate citizens’ concerns about the $800m World Bank loan obtained by the Buhari administration, and how it will be applied, as well as raise issues about 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”.