With Sudden Announcement of Subsidy Removal, Nigeria Collapsed Under Tinubu, Says Babachir Lawal

*Insists CNG vehicles can’t work in Nigeria except FG provides the framework

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, has said the announcement of fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu on the day of his inauguration on May 29, 2023, led to the collapse of Nigeria.
This is just as he said that the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles will not work in Nigeria unless the federal government provides the framework for its functionality.

Lawal said the shocking announcement plunged the country into economic malady, noting that the policy was launched before the cabinet was assembled.
The former SGF said this while discussing the state of the nation on an online television.
According to him, the announcement of the elimination of gasoline subsidies increased the cost of transportation, which is the primary source of income for both the rich and the poor in Nigeria.
Describing the action taken on May 29, Lawal said the non-existence of the cabinet and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to address the consequences of such a harsh policy was the undoing of Tinubu’s administration, leading to a total collapse of the country.
“I can only repeat what I said before. I’ve spoken about this before. First of all, I did say one time you came into government on the day you were inaugurated,” he said.

“After swearing in you embark on the first major policies that are very impactful on the lives of the society. It is like a cowboy, or macho man removing subsidies. At that time, he didn’t have a minister of planning, who should plan the outcome, and the consequences to take care.
“You don’t have a minister of finance who will calculate the impact of this society. You did not even have the federal executive council that will approve that, you have nothing. As at that time, nobody to advise you, nobody to break out ‘what ifs’”.
Speaking further, he said, “So immediately after that inauguration, Nigeria collapsed. It is like a balloon. Nigeria fell down. It deflated completely. Immediately transportation (fare) tripled,” he insisted.

“That week! I used to buy animal feed for my cows from Zaria, I used to pay N270,000 per truck. Immediately that week, I couldn’t buy anymore, because transportation alone was going to cost me N1 million,” he explained, citing his personal experience as a farmer.
“I couldn’t afford it because the cost of fuel just jumped up. Everything. Last week I bought some equipment for my farm. I wanted to transport it from Kano, they were asking me to pay N3 million to transport three tractors and only to be put in a trailer. One trailer carrying three tractors! Everything has gone up. So that policy alone crashed everything.”

 Meanwhile, Lawal has said that the use of CNG vehicles will not work in Nigeria except the federal government provides the framework for its functionality.
He said the government needs to put in place the necessary infrastructure that will lubricate the effectiveness of the CNG vehicles, or else it will be catastrophic.
Recall that President Tinubu had directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to start converting all petrol or diesel-powered vehicles or generators to CNG.

The president gave the new directive “in line with his commitment to ensure energy security, drive utility, and cut high fuel costs,” according to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale.
The government also stated that the CNG-powered buses would be displayed to the public on May 29, 2024, when the current administration will complete one year.

But the former SGF said it is not sustainable, alleging that it is a means for the governors and other government officials to mismanage the nation’s resources.
He also said there have to be gas stations everywhere in the country on the highway so that one can go there to refill whenever the vehicles run out of gas.
He said: “They will display for who? The last time they gave money to the governors to buy buses, they called it palliatives, isn’t it?
“I’ve seen one bus in my state, in Adamawa. I’ve seen one bus plying my Mubi-Yola. I took note of the number. I saw one, I’ve not seen any other one. Sometimes, we go to provide solutions that don’t make sense.
“The other day, I was talking to one of the ministers and was complaining about the cost of diesel which is spent on tractors every week. I spent about 75 litres of diesel on my farm. And that’s a lot of money. Yesterday I bought two drums of diesel which were 50 litres. I bought it for N700,000, and it lasts for one week if I’m lucky.
“When I complained, he said ‘convert your tractors to CNG’. I’m an engineer, then I asked, where in Adamawa will I get the gas? Or where am I going to get it if I’m going to Abuja and run out of gas? Where will I get the gas from? So the infrastructure must be on the ground.”
Speaking further, Lawal said: “Typical government. They talk, they talk grammar, and they leave out the implementation which should have seen the filling stations first. Let’s see the filling stations first. Let them be all over the place.
“He (Tinubu) is putting the cart before the horse. Let’s see the infrastructure for refilling the gas. If I go buy a car or convert my car to CNG, and maybe run out of gas on my way, what do I do? Park the car and come back to Abuja with the cylinder on my head. So, there must be filling stations along the road.
“The argument is that it is cheaper and more efficient than… that is the argument. I’ve seen some vehicles that use gas, the Dangote trucks, they carry hefty cylinders, and even if it runs out of gas in Mubi, he runs to Yola. At least that’s how they do their own,” he added.

Related Articles