By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOSâ€” LAGOS lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, has said the plan by the Federal Government to release N300 billion to the three tiers of governments to cushion the effect of the economic crisis in the country, would no benefit the ordinary Nigerians but government officials and their cronies.
Mr. Falana, who spoke in Lagos, said previous experience had shown that instead of benefitting the masses, such releases would not only increase inflation, but leave the Nigerian masses sinking deeper into poverty.
According to him, â€œin the past 10 years, all the funds that have been released for cushioning the effects of poverty, Structural Adjustment Programme or whatever, have ended up in the same pockets. Pockets of a few people. As Yoruba people will say, if you cannot help me, leave me on my own.
Let me tell you that the money would no go into the economy, it would not go into any productive venture, they are not going to use the fund to create jobs.
â€œYou are going to have inflation in the country and you are going to have capital flight because the bulk of that money would go outside the country. Invariably, you are going to complicate the problems of the people instead of leaving them as they are. They used the name of the people to get more money from the kitty and the end of the day, it ends up in their pockets.
â€œIf they want to release money to cushion the effects of poverty, the economic crisis in town, you must get the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) involved, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and other stakeholders must be involved and sit down with government. These are the representatives of the people.
You then tell them that we have this fund for workers, we want to cushion the effect of economic crisis in the country. How do we manage it?â€ he said.