By NNOROM AZUONYE
It is really depressing to read about and see all the pictures of widespread demonstrations in Nigeria against the removal of fuel subsidy which has now put the minimum price of petrol at N141.00 with the price in the neighbourhood of N175.00 in some areas.
It is good that Nigerians are marching the streets and shouting on top of their voices in an attempt to get the Jonathan administration to rescind this action. I am not very hopeful that these demonstrations will achieve anything anyway, I am sorry for being a pessimist here, but the truth is that President Goodluck Jonathan is proving to have a talent for ignoring the plight of Nigerians, or perhaps he has supped with the devil and is therefore incapacitated and unable to do what is right for the people he is supposed to be leading.
The timing of the actualisation of the removal of fuel subsidy is nothing short of terrorism by the state against the people of Nigeria.
Every Nigerian is worried about the terrorist and religious attacks in the country at the moment, especially in the Northern parts of Nigeria. Kidnappings are still rife in most parts of the South and South-east. Armed robbery is a growth industry nationwide. There is nothing in place to attempt securing the lives and properties of the average Nigerian.
The removal of fuel subsidy at this time will have far-reaching knock-on effects; people who drive their own vehicles will pay much more to run them. Public transport fares will rise astronomically, making it hard for people to get to work, to go out and seek work (for the unemployed), or simply to have any kind of social life. Prices of goods and services will invariably rise as the costs of delivering them rise. There is also the problem with electric power. With irregular power supply in most parts of the country, the people of Nigeria, who could afford it, have been providing alternative sources of power with generators. Now, it will cost a lot of money to fuel these generators.
It is not rocket science to work out that the results of the problems caused by the removal of oil subsidy will be widespread suffering, disillusionment and an exponential increase of crime. It is too difficult to fathom why the Nigerian leadership could so brazenly contrive to plunge the nation into such deep suffering.
There has been a report, I don’t know how credible it is, that a protester has been shot dead by the Nigerian police in Ilorin. Is Jonathan also turning Gaddafi and Assad on Nigerians? It will be very unfortunate if he resorts to violence and the terror of guns as a way of clamping down on demonstrators. At this time we can only watch and encourage those who are able to march in Nigeria. It is a brave thing, and we hope that they will be safe in the face of a possible brute force that may be turned on the.