February 14, 2023

State of the nation: Youths sue for calm, condemn fuel, naira scarcity

Petrol scarcity

File: Queues at a filling station in Ogba, Lagos. PHOTO: Akeem Salau.


By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State residents, especially the youths have been urged to remain calm and peaceful in the face of the current challenges confronting the nation and avoid unhealthy protests which could disrupt the peace of the state.

The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, comrade Biliamin Sulamon-Oba, made the appeal on behalf of 10 million youths in Lagos State during a press conference in Ikeja on Monday.

Sulamon-Oba, who was in the company of the Secretary of the Lagos State chapter of NYCN, Agbaje Abdulhakeem; the State Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Ajayi and other local branches coordinators and leaders of youth organisations, condemned the lingering fuel and naira crises across the country and the state in particular.

The Youth leaders also urged all political party leaders to caution their members against violence before, during, and after the forthcoming elections for the sustenance of peace and unity in the country.

According to him, “The Lagos State leadership of the NYCN observed closely the series of protests in Ogun and Oyo states which led to the loss of lives and property, hence, the Chapter decided to tow this path of Dialogue by airing our opinions in the media, especially due to the complexity of Lagos State.

“The NYCN, Lagos Chapter, frowns against any protest capable of being hijacked by hoodlums and perpetrators of evils to avoid the repeat of the horrible experience of the EndSARs protest.”

While decrying the continued scarcity of both the new and old naira notes, the Youth leader, appealed to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, to disburse more naira notes into circulation to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians, especially Lagos residents.

“The people should not be put in a state of discomfort and hardship like the masses are currently facing. Hence, government policies should be people-oriented and not only beneficial to the political class but to the detriment of the masses.

“The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele must, as a matter of urgency, ensure adequate disbursement of cash to all commercial banks and severely penalise any bank that fails to function appropriately.

“Understandably, some guidelines were already circulated by the CBN and must be followed diligently with more practical approaches.

“Also, the government must mandate the financial institutions to improve their technological infrastructures for ease of banking, as it is a key factor that will not only ease the burden of Nigerians but will as well strengthen the cashless policy of the Federal Government,” he said.

Sulamon-Oba, who condemned the lingering fuel scarcity also urged relevant stakeholders to ensure the supply of fuel to reduce queues and loss of productive man hours at petrol stations.

“The leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must wake up to its responsibilities and ensure sanctions are met on defaulting marketers,” he said.

Speaking on the forthcoming general elections, the youth leader called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure free, fair, and credible elections.

He also implored the youths to be ambassadors of positive change by shunning violence in the general elections, adding that they must avoid being used as thugs by some moneybag politicians but strive to ensure that their votes count by protecting them during the election.

“The teeming youth populace is implored to be civil by shunning all forms of violence during and after the election.

“The youth should not be negative tools in the hands of troublemakers. They should conduct themselves in a non-violent manner and vote peacefully.

“Let us be willing to objectively criticise those in government by engaging them in robust discussions that will drive positive and practical changes and not destructive discussions that can lead the country to anarchy,” Lagos NYCN advised.

The Lagos NYCN also demanded an urgent need to make available all necessary security apparatus for the successful conduct of elections across the country.