Wednesday, January 11, 2012
MY CONCLUSION ON THE FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL ISSUE.
Over the past few days, the fuel subsidy removal issue has sustained its controversial nature. Protests across the country have continued as the government stil struggles to maintain its stand on the issue. The Senate having sat over the matter on differnt occasions has finaly come to a conclusion and instructed that the president suspends the subsidy removal till April.
Nigerians have however hit the streets and social network media to express themselves on the issue. While many continue to term the protests against the subsidy removal as peaceful, a few others have decided to convert the opportunity to steal and commit acts of violence against innocent citizens. The police in their bane to curb the protests have taken to shooting and other forms of illegal acts/killings.
Lives have been lost as well as properties while many poor people whose livelyhood depends on their daily earnings have been forced to fight and starve.
The history of protests against petroleum price increase in Nigeria has shown that no good has ever resulted from protests. In the past as well as today, these protests have only led to unneccesary blood shed, lawlessness and pressure on government decision which eventualy causes them to make hasty decisions that are usualy not in our good interest.
Protests are not entirely bad as long as the reason for which they are embarked on is good and in the interst of what will benefit the masses but prolong protests such as what we plan to have in Nigeria will reap no sensible friuts. The poor we fight for will suffer more from the strike as many of them hardly have enough money to feed for a day, let alone an entire week or longer. Many of these people depend on their daily income which they don't get when the entire nation is on strike.
Security wise as well, it will harm us to stay at home on strike and wait for our government to agree to our demands while those of us who expose ourselves to these protest put ourselves in harm's way as well.
With this said, here is what I suggest as a more rational approach to our present situation.
The government should heed the voice of the people and the advice of the senate and suspend this fuel subsidy removal for the time being so stability can return to the nation.
Government should then enter into negotiations with NLC and other organized groups that would represent different sectors/categories of Nigerians. During these negotiations, the true interest of Nigerians must be protected as it would serve as an organised forum for the government to understand why Nigerians would not agree with them on the issue of subsidy removal and what we would have them do instead. Alternative measures and ideas should be suggested at these meetings as well. Reprentatives should make sure that they concentrate on the real reason they are at these meetings and not allow themselves to be bought over by the government.
While the subsidy removal remains suspended till further notice, the measures that the government has previously agreed upon to serve as cushioning effect to help Nigerian's economy stay fairly stable irrespective of the price of petroleum products, should be embarked upon. This will help Nigerians access the progress of the government and help the government win the trust of its citizens.
The three suggestions I have made above will help solve our probelms better than the measures we are taking now will. The truth is that, the removal of the subsidy on petrolem products will definitely instigate developement in our economy and eradicate one of government's (as well as some individuals) biggest avenue of loothing over the years. The removal of this subsidy will definitely create more jobs and increase efficiency in our industries as long as the government stays true to implementing the policies that will help spur these improvement but they must ensure that this move of subsidy removal is made at the right time and with proper measures taken.
I hope and pray that the present crisis sparked by these prtotests will end and serious negotiations and meetings will begin so that reasonable progress can be made in our country Nigeria.
I therefore summarize by saying, strikes and protest will only further complicate the problems of Nigerians just as government refusing to go back on their decision for a while will lead to more instability in my opinion. It is only punishment to help a man who has no idea what good your help is to him. Let us set our hearts to make neccesary (positive) sacrifices for our country to progress.