How can you remove fuel subsidy first and later begin to plan on how to isolate the backlash arising from it?/Ikhide

Nigeria: Exit And Entrance Of Dementias (Part 11)


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By Erasmus Ikhide

THE unremitting economy crises smudging the nation to its foundation, which we saw coming after the exit of former President Muhammandu Buhari’s tragic presidency, and the upgraded calamity in Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s riotous Presidency from day one, have made Nigerians to conclude that the nation has finally arrived at its own graveyard.

While the nation is faced with unimaginable economy downturn and the people completely vanquished over subsidy removal imbroglio – Buhari’s and Tinubu’s families, alongside oil magnates are diligently picking their tooth in their quiet recesses – laughing the rest of us to scorn! Tinubu’s defiant words on fuel subsidy removal on his inauguration day of May 29th, 2023, simply announced the birth of national tragedies!

I’m fully convinced, like millions of Nigerians that if care is not taken, Tinubu’s unguided, ill-advised and increasingly relapsing into mental corrosion, such as the fallout from his Presidential inauguration on the subject of fuel subsidy removal, which wasn’t part of the prepared speech, might hasten the demise of his Presidency.

Let’s be clear on the fuel subsidy hiatus policy that has left a lasting damage on the nation’s image, disgustingly masterminded by successive criminal governments. Abinitio, I’m opposed to federal government’s ever contemplating adopting fuel subsidy policy, having failed to fix her existing comatose four refineries, thereby confusing citizens with hollow terms and terminology; distortionary verbage, and primitive coinage to obliterate the true government actual intention; carefully driven by corrupt officials, alongside oil mafias at the corridors of power.

To be true, the labour unions across board are not against the removal of fuel subsidy. All they’re saying is that before you outrightly remove subsidy, you must have repaired the nation’s refineries. Majority of Nigerian citizens don’t really know what this subsidy is all about, and that ignorance has been existing till date and that has been fuelled majorly by corrupt officials in and around oil portfolios.

In case you’re not sufficiently informed, fuel subsidy has to do with paying for the cost of refining petroleum products abroad. Nothing more. It also means paying for not having a functional refineries, as well as payment for the shipping of the product abroad for refining. At the same time, it is the payment made for transporting it back to our country where crude oil is being produced from.

For any nation to think of removing fuel subsidy, it means you are ready to refine locally thereby avoiding paying all of the above. If you don’t have functional refineries and you remove subsidy, your economy will simply go into ruins, pure and simple. You’re at liberty to visit all the countries where there are no subsidy and find how many of them refine their products in a foreign land?

Over the last two decades the government has claimed to have spent about N700b in fixing our refineries and the money evaporated into the thin air without consequences for the brazen looting of our common wealth, yet the criminals involved are still working freely on the streets of Nigeria.

The question now is why did the government not fix the existing refineries before the removal of fuel subsidy? Why Tinubu/APC administration not dialogue and agree on terms before the subsidy removal gambit? Why should Tinubu made that careless statement that “subsidy is gone” in May whereas subsidy will only be gone by 1st July?Where are the visible cushioning plans in place so douse the harsh effects of fuel subsidy removal on the citizens?

Beside, how can you remove fuel subsidy first and later begin to plan on how to isolate the backlash arising from it? Why blackmailing the labour unions leadership by calling for meetings after the callous removal of fuel subsidy, without putting the necessary measures in place? Where is the government plans to prevent hoarding fuel to ensure that citizens are not shortchanged by the oil profiteers? What happens to the amount already paid for the entire June since we are now buying at the mercy of the shylock markets?

For the record, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) told the world in clean terms sometimes ago that it is into crude oil swap for refined petroleum products. That way, we don’t actually have to pay for refined crude in cash. What we get at our Landing Port is equivalent of the cost of crude we ship to the refineries abroad.

The question now is who then does the government pay subsidies to and for what? Clearly – organised criminals like the situation in Albania have taken over Nigeria. Sometimes in 2002 – there was a security report known to lnterpol and available to government about Nigeria, that its institutions will be taken over by well organised criminal elites if nothing was done systemically to checkmate the situation. That was 21 years ago and today, that process is complete with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), under firm control and direction of criminal elites; the presidential office; National Assembly; Judiciary; Security agencies, while
ungoverned spaces and other states of the federation, are now occupied by organised and vicious criminal elites.

Everyone knows that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is the arrow head of that organised criminal elites syndicate that has destroyed the entire fabrics of national economy to their personal advantages. At the commissioning of Dangote’s refinery, NNPC Chief, Mele Kyari told the world that NNPC owns 20 per cent equity in the refinery and that it has a right of first refusal to supply crude oil to the plant. This is the same Nigerian government and the NNPC that claimed to have spent $20 billion dollars on fuel subsidy in recent times, at the same time, celebrating Dangote for building his personal refinery for $19 billion dollars!

Aliko Dangote’s monopolistic businesses has been an unmitigated disaster for the nation – through and through without competition – even when other individuals like Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho were given licenses to build refineries, the federal government went behind to sabotage the establishment of the projects from taking off, in the first instance. The implication is that if Dangote refinery crashes by any reason tomorrow, Nigerian oil industry will crumble, and Nigerians would bear the brunt.

This is the moment of bitter truth. Nigerians should, as a matter of urgency, beam the search light at the underpinning effect of allowing Aliko Dangote’s exploitative economic stagnation, and save the nation from his abominable latitude of riding the roughshod, with outdated neoliberal monopolistic dominance, in all aspects of the nation’s economy, that excluded him from taxation.

If anything, Nigerians would like to know how much taxes Aliko Dangote is paying to the Federal Government of Nigeria, for his litany of companies, namely: Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, Dangote Salt, Dangote Danvita, Dangote Sacks, Petit Tomato Paste, Dangote Macaroni, Mowa Waters, Dangote Flours and Semolina, Dangote Pasta, Stock Seasoning Cubes, Dangote Vegetable Oil, Dangote Fertilizer, Dangote Haulage, Dangote Food and Beverages, Dangote Spaghetti, Dangote Ziza Milk, Dansa Juice, Dangote Noodles, NASCON Allied Industries Plc, and a whole lot of other aspects of decaying national economy, appropriated solely and consolidated into one man’s hands.

In summation, subsidy scam has remained a big fraud for the organised criminal elites for which Alhaji Aliko Dangote is the chief offender. With the sudden removal of fuel subsidy, filling the tank of a vehicle ranges from N30,000, N40,000 and N50,000, depending on the size of your tank, whereas minimum wage remained static at N30,000 per month. This is to declare here clearly, that you’re your own enemy if you’re not part and parcel of the struggle to take back your country!

Erasmus Ikhide can be reached via:

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