GEJ Presidential Palace Subsidy Must End: Nigerian Bloggers’ Protest

Link from The Smile of a Nigerian Scorpio (http://www.nigerianscorpio.com)

Since the announcement of this policy, i’ve seen and heard a lot of comments criticizing the public protests that have followed. This is what i’ve decided to address in my post.

The problem with the removal of the fuel subsidy goes beyond economics and a failure to understand this is what has angered the Nigerian public so much. People are not opposing this policy because they are stupid and cannot understand (at least at a basic level) the economics behind subsidy removal. We already know that it is folly to be paying so much to import something that is domestically produced and ought to be refined domestically too. So making economic arguments in response to the public reaction completely misses the mark.

No, the issue is the complete lack of consideration the Nigerian government gives to the welfare of the people it is supposed to be leading. Coupled with the blatant corruption that has led to Nigeria spending N1.3 trillion on this subsidy, one can begin to understand the public frustration at this horribly executed policy.

No one has yet explained the strange increase in the amount allocated to the subsidy (from N300bn to N1.3t). The government has talked about how the savings from subsidy removal will be used for development projects but they haven’t  explained whether the companies that received these subsidy payments actually delivered what they were paid to. This is the kind of situation where an inquiry is needed because if they didn’t people should be held accountable but the government has said nothing about this. It’s not enough to just announce a new policy and sweep the past under the carpet. N1.3t is a huge chunk of money! The public really should know how exactly such an outrageous subsidy scheme came to be in the first place but i don’t hear any plans from Jonathan’s government to go into that.

A proactive government would have made arrangements to alleviate the harshness of the policy on the public before making a shock announcement on the first day of a New Year. But not the Nigerian government. It was only after the first rumblings of discontent that plans were announced to introduce 1600 buses. Why were these buses not already in operation before the subsidy removal took effect?

Not only did the Nigerian government fail to take ameliorative steps on their own end, they did not give people an opportunity to prepare for the effects of more than doubling the price of gas overnight. And then when people gathered to protest, they were met with police brutality. Protesters have been harassed, sprayed with tear gas and even killed just for registering their discontent with the government’s actions. As if that was not bad enough, word got out about clumsy attempts by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation to suppress reporting about the protests. Do all these actions strike you the reader as those of a government that gives two hoots what happens to the Nigerian public?

So when people complain and protest about the removal of the subsidy, do not answer with economics alone. The fuel subsidy is only symbolic of a greater problem with Nigerian governance. Until the present state of Nigerian governance can be justified  by economics, ethics or even plain common sense, there is not much that can be reasonably said against people protesting such oppression.

NB: I read on Chxta’s blog that the Nigerian House of Representatives claims to have no position on the removal of the subsidy. I could only laugh. They can have a position on same sex marriage but they cannot have a position on the subsidy? Bunch of jokers.

To participate in this initiative organised by 9jaFoodie and Naijalines, you can do the following:

1. Do a similar post of your own on your blog using the title “GEJ Presidential Palace Subsidy Must End: Nigerian Bloggers’ Protest”
2. Add the pic/tabled diagram in this post
3. Publish your post today or latest by tomorrow
4. Please allow for seven days on your blog or place in a prime position on your blog for seven days.
5. You can still play your part as a non-blogger: share on facebook, twitter and other relevant social media.
6. Journalists, use your media space.
7. If you’ve done a post or published elsewhere online, please leave a link at Naijalines. Thanks.
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4 responses to “GEJ Presidential Palace Subsidy Must End: Nigerian Bloggers’ Protest

  1. I wish i could conk the head of the next person i see who insists on the removal of fuel subsidy. what sane, sensitive government does that..just like that?
    Here in the UK, citizens are warned of an increase in transport fare by 30p 6 months before implementation. In Nigeria, three weeks…and we say we have a democratic govt.

    As for silent reps, How can they have an opinion when they are waiting for their own Ghana must go..moreover the internet has long memories. Say somethng stupid and your past shall catch up with you.

    • Exactly, Ginger. In other places, drastic measures are introduced with lots of information given to the public on how to adapt to the new situation. In Nigeria, the government just did not care. It shows how incompetent and disorganised they are. They think they can cover up their looting of public funds by removing the subsidy but it’s not going down like that.

  2. Hello Culturesoup,

    Thank you for joining the Nigerian bloggers protest against the removal of the fuel subsidy. You’ve brought up some important points in the protest against GEJ’s decision to remove the subsidy. Some Nigerians do need to understand that removal of the subsidy is not just about economics. Like you said, it goes deeper than that. It is indeed symbolic of a greater problem with Nigerian governance – the lack of accountability of the Nigerian government towards its citizens, the insensitivity and oppression shown in carrying out the policy without preparing people or having the public infrastructure to support it, and of course the bigger forseen problem of what happens to the subsidy money ‘saved’ – how would it escape from the hidden claws of corruption? That is the question Nigerians asked themselves and they came up with a resounding No! It won’t work. There are more pressing issues of corruption and lack of accountability to deal with before such policies can work. Until the Nigerian government works on these issues, the president and his ministers have no business asking Nigerians to suffer more than they have already.

    I definitely agree with you that:
    “…when people complain and protest about the removal of the subsidy, do not answer with economics alone. The fuel subsidy is only symbolic of a greater problem with Nigerian governance. Until the present state of Nigerian governance can be justified by economics, ethics or even plain common sense, there is not much that can be reasonably said against people protesting such oppression.

    Once again, thank you for lending your voice to the cause.

    • Thank you Adura and 9ja Foodie for organising this. It cannot be said enough that the protests are about much more than the subsidy. And it’s about time too! Ever since the debacle over Yar Adua’s disappearance, i have been wondering when people will become fed up with the scam that passes for government in Nigeria. It will be too bad for the ruling class if they fail to read the writing on the wall because things cannot go back to business as usual.

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