… Prevail on your aides from making careless, unreasonable comments
The Labour Party is deeply concerned about the increasing cost of living in Nigeria and how millions of Nigerians are battling with the crisis of food shortage since the turn of the year.
Earlier today (Monday), residents of Minna, the capital of Niger State blocked main roads in the city to protest the high cost of living. Women and young people among the demonstrators were heard shouting protest songs while accusing the government of insensibility and inadequate responses.
As at today, essential commodities such as rice, garri, flour, garri, protein have witnessed exponential increase in prices since January. For instance, a carton of Indomie noodles now sells for N10,000, a 50kg bag of sugar is now selling at N73, 000 as against N62, 000 sold in early January. A bag of cement now sells upward of N7000 against N5500, a bag of rice rising above N70,000, while a kg of meat now sells for N4000, amongst others.
We are aware that the organized Labour Union and the government have been in a long protracted dialogue on a possible salary increase for Civil Servants. There is an air of despondency across the nation. The immediate fallout of this situation are increasing crime particularly among the youths who are desperate to remain alive; incidences of suicide are in upswing. It has now become a familiar scene for people to jump into the Lagoon, hang themselves or take lethal substances.
It is either that the government is bereft of ideas on how to check this unfolding catastrophy or that it chose to continue to act as the if it is still campaigning for office. This is no time for politics.
Nigerians were told that by removing fuel subsidy, the economy will revamp. In addition to the foreign exchange crisis where a dollar is now selling above N1500 and naira still falling unabated, it has become obvious that this sad situation may never be arrested by this government and this calls for concern.
We have always said it, that the hasty manner with which President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was obviously basking in the euphoria of his swearing in, announced the removal by fiat, his action was not taken through the rigors of consultations and planning. We knew this would lead us into economic trouble. Our leader, Mr. Peter Obi and our party gave words of caution but we were called names.
You can’t run a governance based on a whim. The economic turmoil we are suffering today is as a result of this poor sense of judgment. Sadly, amidst all of these, the All Progressives Congress administration has increased its spending on the lavish lifestyles of its elected officials and corruption among government officials has never been worse.
Our Presidential Candidate in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi has said it time and again that until we get the leadership question right, we will continue to grapple in the dark. He has always said we need to move away from a consumption dependent economy to a productive one in order to shore up our foreign exchange reserves and ultimately strengthen the Naira for the economic boom we desire.
Mr. President and his team should just admit they’ve run out of ideas, they should ask for help because it is now apparent that no amount of propaganda can change the fact that more and more Nigerians are falling below the poverty line. Local and foreign companies are folding up and government appears at a loss as to what next to do other than ask us all to pray.
We are also calling on President Tinubu to prevail on some of his aides at this auspicious moment from making inflammatory, incendiary, careless and unreasonable comments which are capable of offending the sensibility of average Nigerians. For any Nigeria to begin to compare this country with some other countries and go as much as pontificating that Nigerians are living in paradise is mischievously opprobrious and insulting to the millions who go to bed every night without food.
As a matter of urgency, we think that the Tinubu led government should stop spending billions on some useless consultancy for some social welfare services which most often end up in private pockets. We are about entering into farming season, we should borrow a leaf from the consumption to production policy of the Labour Party and ensure that farmers are mobilized early enough through various incentives to return to the farms. Fresh University graduates should be encouraged to go into farming and ensure that their produce are mopped up and properly rewarded. Our farms must also be protected from criminal herders and rustlers. We do not have need to be importing several food items that can be grown locally.
The Federal Government needs to take action to reduce the hardship being faced by the poor Nigerians, and seek help because things are becoming unbearable for average Nigerians. This must be done immediately to stem the rising tide of discontentment. Let us pray very hard that the Niger State incidence does not trigger chains of other protests because it is really biting hard across the nation.
National Publicity Secretary