Adams Oshiomhole, the senator representing Edo North, says protests against prevailing economic hardship in Nigeria should not be portrayed as something new happening under President Bola Tinubu’s watch.
Mr Oshiomhole, an All Progressives Congress chieftain and ally of Mr Tinubu, said this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday night.
“I’ve led protests against costs of living before now. You think this is new?” Mr Oshiomhole, a former Nigerian labour congress leader, said when asked if he fears the waves of protests against lingering economic hardship due to skyrocketing food prices could have bad consequences for the Tinubu-led government.
Mr Oshiomhole said Nigeria has been having cycles of economic crisis, recalling past economic crises under former Nigerian president Shehu Shagari in the 80s.
“Do you remember when Shagari introduced essential commodities? The days of Umaru Dikko, when Nigerians had to queue to buy a tin of milk?
“So we’ve had cycles of economic crisis. So don’t suggest as if something that has never happened is happening now,” Mr Oshimhole said.
In the same interview, Mr Oshiomhole also blamed the present economic hardship in the country on reckless policies designed to dehumanise Nigerians by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.
Spiking food prices caused by economic inflation has forced Nigerians to hit the streets in protests in Niger, Kano, Osun and Lagos states last week.
A market survey by Peoples Gazette last Wednesday showed that inflation has shot prices of most food items up since Mr Tinubu assumed office in May 2023.
Mr Tinubu, in response to public outcry on the rising cost of food, had directed the ministry of agriculture and food security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain, including maize, millet and garri.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a summary of its assessment of Nigeria’s economy, lauded Mr Tinubu’s release of “cereals from the grain reserve, provided subsidised fertiliser to farmers,” amongst others, as measures “to ease the impact of rapidly rising inflation on living conditions.”