By Michael Nnebife
The Deputy Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council, Anambra State, Igwe Sunday Okafor of Okpuno in Awka South Local Government Area of the state, has frowned at what he describes as the unplanned approach adopted by the Federal Government in the implementation of the fuel subsidy removal policy, describing the approach as less than deserved.
The Okpuno monarch was speaking in his palace, while receiving in audience, the State Director, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Awka, Sir Joseph Uchendu, and his management team, who paid him an advocacy visit in connection with the implementation of the fuel subsidy removal policy.
The monarch who observed that the pronouncement by the Federal Government that the subsidy had been removed had hiked transport fares across the country, said the government should have constituted a joint committee, comprising the officers of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, representatives of the government and other critical stakeholders in the petroleum industry in the country, with a view to coming up with effective palliative measures for Nigerians before rushing into implementing the policy.
Igwe Okafor appealed to Nigerians to remain calm, saying that since they survived the dreaded COVID -19 pandemic, they would also survive the pensive effects of the subsidy removal.
He described the condition Nigerians faced now as very unfortunate and painful, adding that it needed urgent intervention by the government at all levels to avoid further escalation.
He stated that the cost of living in Nigeria currently is very unbearable, hence what he described as the vicious hardship in the country. He called on the Federal Government to work towards revamping the nation’s abandoned oil refineries, as well as quickly coming up with measures that would put to a permanent stop, hardship in Nigeria.
The highly respected royal father also wondered why the Federal Government would consider increasing the salaries of elected political officers and appointees in the country, while most Nigerians, especially civil servants and the rural populace could not boast of a three-square meal, describing such as inhuman and ungodly.
Earlier, the NOA State Director, Sir Uchendu, thanked the traditional ruler and his cabinet chiefs for what he described as the honour accorded him and his team and pleaded with him and other traditional rulers in the state to prevail on their subjects to always lend support to government development programmes, especially the current fuel subsidy removal.
While pleading with Nigerians to exercise patience with the government, the NOA State Director reiterated that the essence of the fuel subsidy removal policy implementation in ‘this perilous time’ was to fortify the nation’s failing economy and as well save the country from further borrowing.