• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Government Reforms: Angry group gives FG 7day ultimatum

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A pressure group, Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC) has issued a 7-day ultimatum to President Bola Tinubu’s led Federal Government to look into its economic reforms to alleviate the pains currently being faced by the citizenry.

The group said mass action is inevitable if the government failed to quickly set up shock absorbers to cushion the people’s pain.

Also, OCSC called on the Osun State government to roll out measures to make life liveable for the people of the state as several other states of the federation have done.

Addressing a press conference in Osogbo on Thursday, the chairman of the coalition, Comrade Waheed Lawal lamented that many Nigerians are feeling the pinch of the economic reforms saying that politicians have shown no signs of cutting down the cost of governance and share in the pain.

Lawal urged President Tinubu not to drain Nigerians’ blood for reform or development of any form.

His words: “The last few months have not been pleasant for the majority of Nigerians. Hitherto, Nigerians have been struggling to survive. However, the subsidy removal, naira devaluation, and the implementation of a value-added tax on diesel imports are causing further spikes in the prices of goods and exacerbating a cost-of-living crisis in Africa’s biggest economy.

“It is getting difficult daily for Nigerians, especially with the recent petrol subsidy removal and naira float and other reforms the Tinubu’s led-government is doing. They are good reforms but they are seriously hurting Nigerians and businesses. Many families can’t even afford to eat twice daily anymore as prices keep soaring. The fuel subsidy removal is already having a killing effect on the common people.

“The effects of the inflation scourge are more evident on the poorest of the poor of the country where malnutrition and hunger rates are surging daily as millions of children roam the streets in search of food.

“The worsening cost-of-living crisis is causing a decline in living standards, which is hurting physical and mental health and worsening existing conditions.

“The renewed pressure is not only felt by households but also businesses, as the recent reforms are already taking their toll and threatening to keep many out of business.

“As civil society organisations, we take cognizance of the ride of the people by the government and the seeming insult of the people by the so-called intention of payment of N8000 to the poor people of this nation. While we commend the ongoing negotiations between the government and the labour force, we are particularly bothered by the fate of ordinary Nigerians who feel more the pain of the policies than the civil servants that have hope. Ordinary Nigerians are the most hit by the current economic hardship. They are hopeless in an administration with renewed hope mantra.

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“The current economic realities have sparked more calls for the government to ease the nation’s cost-of-living crisis and put the brakes on rising prices by cutting down on the cost of governance.

“The Nigerian government must move quickly to set up shock absorbers to cushion the people’s pain. It is just a mere emphasis to state that there is poverty, hunger, confusion and frustration in the land. Anger is bottling up and the gunpowder that Nigeria is sitting on may explode anytime.

“The recent hike in the cost of fuel is damning. People of Osun State particularly trekking and those that have vehicles can’t even afford to fuel them for use. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should not drain Nigerians’ blood for reform or development of any form.”

The civil society organization, however, recommended “a pause in interest rate hikes to relieve the pressures on economic agents, also urge the government to implement fiscal measures such as reducing/ removing the tax on basic food items to protect the most vulnerable as well as spur demand-side growth.

“We also implore the government to hasten the provision of the anticipated palliatives to lessen the impact of the rising trend in prices on economic agents. We can’t continue to wait on promises of palliative. The time is NOW!”

“We wish to state that while we demand a speedy response from the federal government on the roll-out of palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy and biting economic reality, we also demand that the Osun State government go beyond empathy and promises to rolling out measures to make life liveable for the people as several other states of the federation have done.

“Without intention to threaten, we want to state categorically that failure for the issues raised above to be looked into between now and the next one week, and the needful done, we shall be leading the mass of the people out on the street for a protest and nothing shall deter us till we achieve victory since that seems to be one language that the government understands.

“We believe this is a time to speak up and address critical issues lest we have on our hand, a March of the people for freedom and emancipation that may be worse than what we witnessed at the ENDSARS revolt.”