The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on the federal government to reverse the increases in petrol price and electricity tariff because of the prevailing economy.
NANS President, Comrade Danielson Bamidele Akpan who made the call in a press conference on Thursday said that Nigerians were bewildered that having been under months of lockdown and restrictive measures, welcoming them back to normal life with increases in prices of essential commodities was a burden too harsh for the citizens to bear.
Akpan noted that Nigerian students in particular would be hard hit by these policies and therefore cannot concentrate or cope with studies as their usually managed 101 feeding standard can no longer be guaranteed.
He added that many students had been forced out of school already due to high cost of living and deteriorating economic conditions of their families.
While pointing out that Nigerian students (NANS structures and states) had been protesting against the latest announced prices as directed by the National Secretariat of NANS, the NANS President however said that the protests would continue as planned.
“On behalf of the NANS leadership, I hereby direct the entirety of Nigerian students to reaffirm our commitment to ongoing calls for the reversal of the hikes.
“Precisely on Monday 14th September, 2020, Nigerian students shall be making a loud statement in a mass protest across the six geo political zones, the Federal Capital Territory to demand outright reversal of the insensitive price hikes.
“Now is the time to reset our priorities as a government, people and develop with a common purpose that seeks the good of the common man. Perhaps, if our refineries were working at optimal production level and new ones added over the years, Nigerians would by now have long forgotten the pains of persistent increases especially on petroleum products.
“That the government has realized that Nigerians can no longer bear the pains of long years of neglect, dishonest oil merchants who have ripped Nigerians of earnings from oil refining, production and sales at the detriment of the people, nation’s reserves and national development but should act in consultation with the people”, he stated.
He further noted that the effects of those increases amidst earlier increments made in Value Added Tax (VAT) and multiple taxations on goods and services had started causing unbearable consequences, thereby compounding the obvious imbalances in the economic and social life of Nigerians, most of whom, were dependent on (unstable) electricity supply and PMS to do businesses and make ends meet.
He continued, “I must categorically say that, there have been uncharted abuse of our foreign exchange by beneficiaries of subsidies over the years and by no means new to this administration, which has had nothing to do with the welfare of the masses, is a misplacement, as these huge resources deployed to a few, could also be deployed for the optimum growth of the nation.
“Regrettably, the subsidy regime is no longer visible and its complete removal is inevitable. But the timing of the removal and the effect of the removal is wrong at a time when the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are biting so hard on the masses.
“The new normal in the world requires the channeling of resources to profitable ventures with humane face, conscious and deliberate growth plans, discoveries and discussions on sustainability models of revenue generation, firm economic programs with deep impact on citizens and how to prevent the country from another recession, rather than continue an unsustainable squander of the nation’s resources in the name of subsidy. This is totally unacceptable going forward, however the period of the increase due to such removal leaves all in wonder.
“Sadly too, prices of food items, consumables, transportation and other essential services would have skyrocketed, again, leaving Nigerians frustrated and bewildered. Nigerians are not unaware of government’s unending explanations and reasons for these emerging biting policies. They understand the dynamics in the oil sector in particular.”
He therefore disclosed that they shall be engaging the Federal Government and all ministries, departments and agencies and other stakeholders both in the Finance, Power and Petroleum sector and further demand efficient service delivery from the Discos and the entire power sector.
“A letter of protest rejecting the price hikes especially on electricity and petrol pricing would be addressed to the President & C-in-C, H.E Muhammad Buhari, GCFR through the six geo political zones for onward deliver to Mr. President while the FCT Minister will convey the message to the C-in-C for the North Central Zone”, he stressed.
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