Home » LATEST NEWS » Nigerians protest fuel hike, Jonathan introduced subsidy re-investment board

An attendant sells fuel at a petrol station in Lagos , Nigeria, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. Photo credit: AP

By NAL staff writer

The Nigeria’s federal government on Monday introduced a reactionary measure to calm public angers over the sudden increase in fuel prices, due to the implementation of fuel subsidy removal program.

The PPPRA on New Year’s Day announced that “Petroleum products marketers are to note that no one will be paid a subsidy on PMS discharges after 1st January 2012.”

Although fuel subsidy removal has top national conversation for some weeks in the last quarter of 2011, the full implementation of the economic measure, meant to stimulate government revenue earnings, was a shock for many Nigerians.

Reports from major cities in Nigeria: Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna and Port Harcourt among others indicate that increase in fuel cost is facing fierce resistance from the public.

In Abuja, a group of protesters were led by a national lawmaker, Hon. Dino Malaye to register their disapproval of the new policy. In the south-west town of Ibadan, a fuel station was torched by dozens of rioters, and in Lagos, trade unions have perfect plan to take to the street, to protest fuel subsidy removal.

Nigerians, most of whom live below the universal acceptable poverty line rely on petroleum to fulfill their daily routine. Critics of the government policy argue that removing fuel subsidy will increase the economic hardship currently faced by many Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the presidency has announced the appointment of Dr. Christopher Kolade, a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom as chairperson of a Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme Board, SREPB.

A press release from Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity describes the board’s duty as to “oversee and ensure the effective and timely implementation of projects to be funded with the savings accruing to the Federal Government from subsidy removal.”

It remains unclear how the new board, already tagged diversionary by activists will persuade Nigerians to accept an increase in fuel cost.

During the regime of Nigeria’s late military dictator, Sani Abacha (1993-1998), the government created the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) chaired by Rtd. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Goodluck Jonathan’s rival in Nigeria’s April 2011 Presidential election) to serve a similar purpose as the newly constituted SREPB. The program although generated mix review, it was however highly praised for its developmental projects that are still noticeable around the country.

PTF was later transformed into the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), which was overshadowed by the animosity between former Nigeria’s president Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy Atiku Abubakar, with the latter indicted by EFCC for misappropriation of funds.

A public commentator, Olabisi Adeola challenges the government to rethink its plans over the fuel subsidy removal.

“Let the Federal government show us what it can do with available resources first, before asking the masses to sacrifice more,” says Adeola.



Be the first to share on your network

    One Response to “Nigerians protest fuel hike, Jonathan introduced subsidy re-investment board”

    1. Agwazia Ifeanyi January 3, 2012

      The demonstations going on in the country tell more on how the poor people of nigeria are ready to accept that decision by the government to increase the sufferings of the masses.
      Simply economics can tell us that prices of essential commodities will increase and who will suffer it? THE POOR MAN.