By CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA— NIGERIAN youths have expressed rage against Federal Government’s proposed removal of subsidy on petroleum products as Minister of Youth Development, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, engaged them in a dialogue through social network to get their contributions.
The youths, in their various comments, wondered why the refineries in the country were not functional, asking the government to learn from Niger Republic which has just built a new refinery.
They dared the minister to mention the cabal working against the country’s interest.
One of the youths, Oluwasegun Damilola, said: “They keep lobbying us to accept this oil subsidy removal. They say it’s for our own good, we say we don’t want, is it by force?
“I actually think subsidy should go, but with the right targeted interventions to replace it.”
Another, Godwin Amaize, said: “On the issue of subsidy removal, we recognise that the biggest issue is the issue of trust.”
They were of the view that government needed to go back to its drawing board on the issue as the reasons given for the removal of fuel subsidy were not convincing.
Struggling hard to convice the youths, the minister said, “much of the benefits of subsidy profit the rich rather than the poor. The rural areas are already paying more for petrol. Subsidy allows smuggling of subsidised petroleum products to neighbouring countries where it is sold at a higher rate.
“No insensitive to make refineries work, because of imported fuel, as long as we keep subsidy, refineries will not work.
“It takes time to build trust and trust is measured by performance, let us give time for the government to fix things.”
The removal of subsidy is like driving a change, most of people, we tweet with did not oppose the issue of fuel subsidy, but what to do with the proceed of the subsidy. It is the issue of trust.”
“The removal of subsidy is just one consequence of deregulation of the down stream sector. Government can not say because he wants to deregulate and start building refineries, but it will be economically viable to take up the policy for the investors to know that the government is determined to make the meaningful change in the society.”