Clergyman Makes Case for  Nigerians Groaning under Hunger, Poverty

John Shiklam in Kaduna

The Archbishop of Kaduna Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Timothy Yahaya, has called on the government to provide some relief to ordinary Nigerians groaning in hunger and poverty as a result of the difficult economic situation in the country.

Yahaya made the call in an interview with journalists yesterday before a thanksgiving service to celebrate his elevation to the position of Archbishop, which was held at the St. Michael Cathedral in Kaduna.

He said the palliatives initiated by the federal government following the removal of petrol subsidy “is a mockery on the sensibilities of the poor masses.”

According to him, the negative impact of fuel subsidy removal has rubbished the value of the ongoing palliatives being distributed across the country, noting that the palliatives should have been something concrete that could stand the test of time.

The clergyman said the majority of Nigerians have been subjected to hunger and poverty due to socio-economic hardship.

Yahaya said: “Leadership today has become a source of decoration; it is no longer a source of responsibility.

“I call on all leaders to ensure that at least their followers have some respites in this difficult time of economic conundrums in our country.

“Leadership should be responsible and responsive to the people. When the people are smiling, that means there is leadership in place. When the people are crying, leaders are not supposed to be asleep until they ensure that the people are smiling.”

The cleric called on Nigerians to be their brother’s keepers in a difficult time by helping one another.

According to him, “The real palliative is to ensure that our schools are in order; our railway lines are in order; to ensure that the insecurity conundrum we are in is over, and to ensure that prices of food in the market are reduced to the barest minimum so that it can be affordable.”

Speaking further, he noted the N35,000 increase in workers’ salaries for the next six months is not enough, maintaining that the situation is still bleak as no one knows what will happen after six months.

“If we are talking about palliatives, we should talk about solid palliatives, we should not only ensure that our refineries are running, but the three geopolitical zones should have refineries so that the issue of fuel is settled once and for all in our country.

“The moment you removed fuel subsidy, the prices of other commodities would increase, and that means inflation in all aspects of our economy.

“And how then do we get palliatives? Transportation is a necessity, and I thought by now that the government would have brought in vehicles to reduce the transportation cost of goods in the country.

“With the kind of money coming to government now, I see no reason for excuses from the government not to create an enabling environment for jobs and small businesses to thrive in this country,” the clergyman said.

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