GOVERNMENT still under estimates the anger of Nigerians on the new price of petrol. The responses have remained the same, they have failed to address the questions Nigerians are asking about the new price of petrol, a critical product for the Nigerian economy.
The refrain that government will not back down on the new price is hollow. The brutality of the security forces is unfortunate. The loss of life in Ilorin is a sad reminder more will die not only on the streets, but also in their homes. This policy is killing.
When did government realise Nigeria needed mass transportation? Will 1,600 buses cater for more than 167 million Nigerians? Which buses will they use in rural Nigeria or in the creeks? Will these buses produce electricity which individuals spend billions of Naira generating because of government mismanagement of the sector?
Government is too distant from Nigerians to understand the impact of the price of petrol. Transporters may get loans to buy buses, but the buses will be gone in months because of the poor state of the road in the country.
We have a government that offers no solutions to problems it has created with a policy that under rates the rising anger in the country. Nigerians are battling for survival. Government can remove subsidy when Nigeria starts operating a “market forces” economy. The timing is wrong, the people cannot survive it. The decision is inflicting more pains on Nigerians at a time they are battling insecurity. It is the height of insensitivity and government cannot explain it.
The new price of petrol is not about the cost of transportation. It is about how government intervention disrupts our lives. Government pretends it does not know the new price of petrol will drive up prices of everything, hike cost of production, and generate more unemployment instead of the two million jobs it proposes to create.
Nigerians are angry that the future of the country is planned on ad hoc basis with them as guinea pigs in inconclusive economic experiments. Nigerians sear with angst at the prospects of a country without a present or future. Nigerians angrily reject government’s decision to punish them – not the culprits – for identified corruption in the marketing of petrol. The anger rests on the injustice involved and inability of Nigerians to survive this strangulation.
Only months down the line, government will realise the damage it has done to the economy with this policy. The attending regrets are avoidable if government acts now.
Government has no choice than to immediately address this anger, which is neither a matter for speculation or circumspection. A new price for petrol is for the future.