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Despairing citizens to Tinubu: Palliatives not enough, reduce fuel pump price

‘…Divert palliatives to education, health sectors’
…Palliatives meaningless unless… – Bizman
…Govt must return to the drawing board – Comrade Alifia

The federal government in a bid to cushion the hardships being experienced by the citizens as a result of the removal of subsidies on fuel announced palliatives, but the despairing Nigerians have insisted that they prefer pump price reduction; TOPE SUNDAY and SHUAIB ZAINAB LAMORDE (intern) report.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his inauguration speech on May 29 said there was no budget to continue the payment of fuel subsidies and his pronouncement led to a hike in the pump price of fuel from N195 per litre to N537 in the first week.

Consequently, transport fares and the prices of essential goods and services skyrocketed throughout the country, thus burdening the already hapless citizens with far-reaching consequences. Painfully, as it stands now, the fuel pump price is sold for N614, N615, and N617 per litre at petrol stations owned by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited. (NNPL).

To reduce the backlash, the federal government announced an N5 billion palliative for each state of the federation, including the federal capital territory (FCT).

The governor of Borno state, Prof. Babagana Zulum, who announced this in Abuja, when he spoke to State House correspondents at the end of a National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, said the N5 billion is to enable state governments to procure 100, 000 bags of rice; 40, 000 bags of maize and fertilisers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.

“This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52 percent of this money is given to states as grants, while 48 percent of the N5billon is to be paid back on an installment basis within 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria.

“The Council has taken bold decisions to ensure the speedy release of grains and other items to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on the less privileged in society.

“The Council has also taken note of the $800 million loan and insists that it be strictly used for the intended purpose and based on an accurate and acceptable register. The $800 million announced by the president will go to Nigerians following an accurate social register.

“Furthermore, the Council has also noted the package that was announced by the president to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, amounting to about N500 billion,” he had said.

Editors’ take

In a reaction, the nation’s senior editors under the auspices of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) promptly urged President Tinubu and the 36 governors to fulfill their promises to provide palliatives to the people to ease their pains.

The editors, who observed that the hike in the pump price of petrol has taken its toll on Nigerians, who have been facing hard times due to the astronomical rise in transportation costs, food items, and other goods, however, commended the governors who were already implementing some of their promises in their states.

The editors’ appeal was contained in a communiqué signed by the NGE president, Eze Anaba, and the general secretary, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, at the end of the editors’ Standing Committee Meeting in Lagos.

“The Standing Committee deliberated on the current state of the nation and noted the removal of subsidy on petrol, a step which the federal government took in the interest of the nation’s economy.
“It also noted the immediate fallout of the policy, especially the resultant hike in the pump price of petrol, which is also affected by the floating of the Naira, leaving its control to market forces.

“However, the Guild observed that the hike in the pump price of petrol has taken its toll on Nigerians who have been facing hard times due to the astronomical rise in transportation costs, food items, and other goods,” the Communiqué partially read.


Speaking with Blueprint Weekend, a cross-section of Nigerians said they still prefer pump price reduction to the palliatives being shared across the states, arguing that the gesture would be cornered by the elite.

An Abuja resident, Ibrahim Bernard, told this medium that the development has already prevented him from driving his two cars as he can not afford to fuel them any more.

He said: “I would prefer pump price reduction because the hardship is very high among Nigerians. The citizens are suffering. I drive two cars, but I can no longer afford to fill them right now. Consequently, I use one now; so, it’s a very big challenge to the masses, and our people today can no longer eat three times a day because of inflation. So, please, I will advise that we should instead go with fuel price reduction.”

In his view, a taxi driver, Jamilu Usman, urged President Tinubu to channel the money being spent on palliatives to education and health sectors as, according to him, Nigerians are spending more on fuel.
“In the case of subsidy removal, we are not benefiting anything. This is because we always go to filling stations to buy fuel at a high price. When you buy for example N10, 000 worth of fuel it will be gone in two days. It’s very frustrating for us.

“On the palliatives, there is nothing like achievements up till now. I wish the president would take the palliatives to the education and health sectors that are even better than giving palliatives,” Jamilu said.

A businessman, Sulaiman Bala, in his opinion said giving palliatives is baseless if the masses are suffering, and called on the government to rather empower the masses.

He said, “The palliatives being given to the effect of the subsidy removal to me are useless because it is just a one-time thing; what the government needs to do is to empower the people to be able to fuel their cars and afford transportation. Also, the government needs to create jobs and increase salaries. For me, this idea of throwing palliative at us is meaningless.”

Further lamentations, reactions

A public affairs analyst, Shukuroh Tiamiyu, also told this medium that palliatives given as a result of the subsidy removal is not the solution to the hardship Nigerians are experiencing, and called for a reduction in the price of PMS.

“It is instructive to note that no amount of palliatives can be disbursed to the citizens that can be sustainable and remove the hardships being experienced by Nigerians. Reduction in fuel price is the only immediate antidote to the hardships. This will enable Nigerians to be able to cater for themselves and their families.

“If there’s a reduction in the pump price there will be a reduction in the level of hardships and the poverty level will surely decrease in the sense that many Nigerians depend solely on petroleum products in making ends meet.

“Palliative is not a solution, but an option to minimise the pains and agitations of the people; no matter the palliatives offered by the government, once there is a high price in petroleum, it would automatically bring about inflation on other goods and commodities,” she said.

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