Why Fuel Subsidy Must Go in Nigeria, Kolawale Johnson Declares

Why Fuel Subsidy Must Go in Nigeria, Kolawale Johnson Declares

  • A civil rights activist, Kolawale Johnson, has reacted to the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government
  • The head of the Directorate of Research at APTI said the fuel subsidy removal is long overdue as it does not benefit the masses
  • Kolawole added that the rich Nigerians who benefit from fuel subsidy will fight the government for removing it

Kolawale Johnson, a Nigerian civil rights activist and head of the Directorate of Research, Strategy & Programmes of the coalition of civil society organisations, Act for Positive Transformation Initiatives (APTI) has argued that only rich Nigerians benefit from the subsidy, and the ordinary or poor Nigerian benefits nothing.

Kolawole, while defending the removal of subsidy in an exclusive chat with Legit.ng, said the ending of the subsidy regime was long overdue, and the current agitation against its removal is not unexpected because those benefiting from it will definitely fight back.

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Fuel subsidy removal/ Poor don't benefit from fuel subsidy/Kolawole Johnson/ Fuel subsidy is for rich Nigerians
Kolawole Johnson says the rich who benefit from fuel subsidy will fight back. Photo Credit: Uwakmfon Oku/ Victorson Agbenson
Source: Facebook

He said:

"Subsidy must go! Those who are profiting will not let go easily. We have attempted this since the times of IBB, Abacha, Obasanjo and even Yar'Adua down to Jonathan and President Buhari. They have all tried one way or the other to end subsidy but failed."

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Giving further reasons why past administrations failed to end subsidy, Kolawale said the false narratives around subsidy were chiefly responsible, especially those tied to the poor Nigerians.

He said:

"Have we asked ourselves why they have not been able to do it? But they keep telling you that it's hurting the economy. And they keep telling you that only a few are benefiting. They will say they want to help the poor. Which poor? We only know that about lower 40 per cent of the population,/ only benefit three per cent from subsidies. So if you spend 10 trillion Naira in a year, 40 per cent of the population, the poor of the poorest, only benefit 3 billion Naira from the sum. So why do we have to leave it?"

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Presenting a statistical representation of how the rich benefit from subsidy at the detriment of the poor, Kolawale, in an analogy, said:

"Let me give you this analogy. A woman with a family of six in the village may go to the market ones in a week. She would need to take a cab but instead treks to the market. The man treks to the farm or where he does his business because it's close to the house. This is because rural economy is clustered somehow.
"Assuming the woman decides to take a cab to the market, which is supposed to be N100, but pays N50 due to subsidy. She has only benefited N50. You can imagine what she gains from subsidies in a year. But for a family of six in the urban area, the higher-upper echelon, he has like eight, nine or ten cars and they are all big cars -V8, V-12. He is on the road with a minimum of four to five cars himself.

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"The son drives out with his friends. On the average, a day they burn like 100 litres of petrol. In a week, they have done 700 litres. And that 700 litres, they ought to pay ordinarily N4 million, but they will pay N1.2 or N1.3 million. For that week, the government has paid for that family of six N2.8m to subsidize their own luxury life."

Speaking on how it affects the poor, he said:

"Whereas the government only pays N200 in a week for the woman in the village that has no money, the government has paid N2.8m in a week for the man that has money. So is subsidy now helping the poor man in the village? No! We are still helping the rich."

The activist added:

"This can be extended to subsidy on electricity. The rich man has 30-40 Air conditioners in his house. The poor woman probably has bulbs in her house, and nothing more. It's that same woman that NEPA will go and harass, taking thousands from them by force.

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"But that big man that has 30 ACs is allowed. Try to even imagine the consumption of electricity by the rich compared to that woman in the village. Electricity subsidy actually helps the big man, and not the poor. Imagine those big shots. They don't switch off ACs and electricity workers do not have access to their house. They are the ones that get involved in energy theft more.
"Summarily, this thing we call subsidy is for the rich, not for the poor."

Recall that President Bola Tinubu, during his inauguration address to the nation, said fuel subsidy was gone.

Consequent to the statement, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, NNPCL, had jerked up the pump price of fuel to between N537 - N600 per litre.

The development has sparked nationwide debates, with labour unions threatening to strike nationwide. They have, however, suspended their planned strike after a meeting with a representative of the Federal Government.

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However, the debate on who is right or wrong over removing fuel subsidies has continued.

June 12: Tinubu appeals to Nigerians over subsidy removal in Democracy Day message

Earlier, Legit.ng had reported that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has appealed to Nigerians to bear with his administration over the removal of fuel subsidies.

He made this appeal on Monday, June 12, in a live telecast while delivering his Democracy Day message to Nigerians.

Source: Legit.ng

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Adoyi Ali Ali Adoyi is a prolific writer and a graduate of the Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State. Adoyi holds a B.A Theatre and Communications Arts. He has bagged many awards both in academics and in journalism. Some of the awards are 10 years Journalism Merit Award, Best graduating student (Dept) Most Outstanding student (Faculty), and others. Adoyi can be reached here: adoyi.ali@corp.legit.ng

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Adekunle Dada (Politics and Current Affairs Editor) Adekunle Dada is a journalist with over 5 years of working experience in the media. He has worked with PM News, The Sun and Within Nigeria before joining Legit.ng as a Politics/Current Affairs Editor. He holds a B.Sc. in Mass Communication from Lagos State University (LASU). He can be reached via adekunle.dada@corp.legit.ng.

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