By GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN CITY—AS prominent citizens in Edo State react to the sudden removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, Nigerian Medical Association, Edo State branch has expressed shock at the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan.
State chairman of NMA, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, said: “We see this announcement as not only provocative and evil but a very bad New Year gift to the Nigerian people. This is wicked, uncaring, harsh and capable of throwing our country into uncontrollable anarchy.
“The planned engagements with the Nigerian people that started with town hall meetings in Lagos and Benin City organised by Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN and the Coalition to Save Nigeria, CSN, respectively are inconclusive and this action is meant to present a fait accompli to the Nigerian people.
Government’s inability to curtail frivolous and wasteful spending by its officials and unpreparedness to curb corruption in the oil industry is being visited on the poor, hapless and impoverished Nigerians by this unpopular and unpatriotic decision to increase fuel prices.
“This is clearly unacceptable and will be resisted through democratic and peaceful means. Nigeria is bigger than the current leaders. Nigeria will outlive the current rapacious leaders, who had decided to inflict more pains on its people. How do you demand so much sacrifices from the common man and woman in Nigeria without a corresponding commitment to same by our leaders?
“How does anyone justify a situation of extreme want and abject poverty by Nigerians while its leaders engage in opulent and ostentatious living? Why this wickedness?
“We are very worried that many students will drop out of school. We are concerned that many Nigerians will have a reduction in their capacity to access health facilities further endangering the attainment of the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
“We are worried that many businesses will fold up and the middle class will be finally wiped out. We are deeply alarmed at this decision that is capable of accentuating the ethno-religious crisis in the country.”
“We call on members of the National Assembly to come out of their comfort zone, suspend their holiday and immediately reconvene to rescind the decision of the President to increase the pump price of fuel. This is a matter of urgent national importance for which any delay is unacceptable. This is the time for them to demonstrate that they are indeed representatives of the people,” he added.