- Threatens to shut down nation
Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has faulted the call for the removal of fuel subsidy by 2022 and replacing it with N5,000 transportation grant to 40 million Nigerians.
The association said such moves will be resisted by the teeming Nigerian students and masses, adding that such does not add up in a country bereft of database and knowledge of genuine beneficiaries.
The President of NANS, Afeson Sunday Adebayo, who stated this during a press briefing in Abuja weekend, said the association will shut down the Nigerian economy should the government go ahead to accent to the recommendation submitted to it by the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led committee.
He said if at all subsidy removal will be considered, then the federal government must first demonstrate goodwill, by ensuring that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) makes the four refineries work to full capacity so as to determine the exact cost of refining the products in the country and why Nigeria has to continue importing refined petroleum products into the country.
Referring to the whole idea as a scam, the NANS president lamented the high cost of cooking gas in the country, saying it is at an all time high, thereby making it unaffordable for the average Nigerian to purchase, adding that this also calls for the attention of the government.
“It should be noted that if the federal government has any genuine reason to remove subsidy, a move that will automatically remove the pump price of petrol, the timing is wrong and we seriously suggest that such proposal be immediately suspended by the federal government.
“Nigerians, to alleviate their transportation need. By implication, the plan to pay 40 million Nigerians over two trillion naira annually, is another window of corruption and excessive spending, rather than being a way of cutting cost paid on subsidy, which currently stands at two trillion naira annually.
“It is also imperative for us to ask the parameters for determining those Nigerians who are qualified to be among the forty million beneficiaries, under a system without a reliable database to know the number of citizens or competent classification of the truly vulnerable group of Nigerians.
“We reject the allowance for the forty million Nigerians as it is merely an attempt to add a new dimension of economic woe upon Nigerians through the removal of subsidy.
“Before the federal government can take any decision on the removal of the subsidy, it must first demonstrate goodwill by ensuring that the NNPC makes the four refineries work to full capacity so as to determine the exact cost of refining the products in the country and why we have to continue importing refined petroleum products into the country.
“We demand that the government should urgently address our local production capacity, as promised over the years before ever considering fuel subsidy removal,” he said.