Tinubu is taking us back to the Stone Age

By Moses Okorie

Nigerians are currently battling the effect of fuel subsidy removal, which started during the inaugural speech of President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023, when he declared that “Fuel subsidy is gone; it’s gone for good”. Many Nigerians clapped and hailed the new declaration describing it as a bold step by the new president. Some even blamed past administrations for allowing fuel subsidy to remain over the years.

Right from that day, Nigerians have never had it easy; car owners now park their vehicles at home as they believe it is cheaper to commute via public transport than using private cars while buying fuel at an exorbitant rate of almost N700 per litre. Even those who use ‘I better pass my neighbour generator’ have suddenly discovered that no one is better than the other. You hardly see people using their generators as the case was when petrol was below N200 per litre.

As if that was not enough, the American currency, Dollar, which determines the rising and falling of prices of goods and services started going up, all because of the monetary policies of the new government of Tinubu and his lieutenants. And the irony is that while all these happen, people resort to ‘suffering and smiling’. Any contrary view to what the government in power is doing would be termed as opposition or witch-hunt. Some even go as far as raising ethnic, political or religious issues as to why anybody should complain that Nigerians are suffering. What they want everyone to be saying is “It is for the good of all of us. It would soon get better”.

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Again, as we were getting used to the previous policies and swallowing the bitter piles of Tinubu government, they stroke us once more through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, telling us that we would need to pay higher for electricity, for those on Band A. Who determines whether an area is Band A or B, it is still the same people that exploit the hapless customers. Even when the light is not there, customers must pay for darkness. In fact, using prepaid metre is now like a death sentence, because one must be very careful not to power his air conditioner or freezer, not to talk of hotplate, otherwise his money would go down the drain.

Now, they have come again and again! They want to return us to the Stone Age even as the world is already in the jet age. The introduction of cybersecurity levy by the federal government, to be controlled by the Office of the National Security Adviser, is yet another plot to make Nigerians pay dearly for not seeking the opportunity to jet out of the country like many others did in the spirit of ‘japarism’.

Nuhu Ribadu, National Security Adviser

What this policy is trying to encourage is that people should avoid the banks as much as possible. Like it was done in the old time, when Nigerians used their houses as their banks, the situation is likely returning to that. The so-called 0.5 percent charge on each electronic financial transaction, the policy will make a bank customer prefer making payments in cash as an alternative.

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As the labour unions and other civil society organizations are crying foul, calling on the government to renege on its decision, all Nigerians need to obey the clarion call of the National Anthem “Arise oh Compatriots”. We need to arise against this policy, otherwise, it would add to the burden we are already bearing. Very soon they would also introduce ‘Ground marching levy’ and ‘Air breading charges’ so that those who can’t pay would be denied the right of marching on the soil of Nigeria or breathing the air of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

With what is happening, it is already obvious that this government did not come to ‘Look Uche face’, it has really come to exploit its citizens. If all the trillions the Nigerian Customs Service is generating, with the ones the NNPC is making, all monies the Federal Inland Revenue Service is bringing into the national coffers as well as the international grants the country is getting, yet, the government of Bola Tinubu cannot operate without charging from the meagre resources individual Nigerians are making.

Where are all the CNG (compressed natural gas) buses the government promised? The palliatives that would better the lots of Nigerians and so on, where are they? When will the government make them available? The policies of this present administration have made prices of goods and services shoot beyond the reach of the common man, instead of devising how to ameliorate these sufferings, the government is plotting further sufferings for the citizenry. Enough is enough!

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Moses Okorie is an Abuja-based journalist. 07054657334

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