By: Ayuba Maffi
As state governments roll out palliative distribution to indigenes and residents of their respective states, Plateau State governorship candidate in the 2023 election on the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Solomon Nandy Chendan has expressed doubts that the handouts would reduce the hardship being experienced by Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Chendan, who is also the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Scottbrian Global Security Services (SGSS), expressed his view in an interview with our BusinessDay. He lamented that the fuel subsidy removal has subjected many Nigerian households to untold hardship.
The former gubernatorial candidate of the opposition ADC who traced the suffering of Nigerian masses to the immediate past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, said that after the closure of land boarders, kidnapping, armed robbery, Boko Haram terrorism became the order of the day which deprived Nigerians of peaceful living.
He also lamented that the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the day of his swearing-in on May 29, 2023, has led to sharp and multiple increases in fuel pump prices.
He said that the action of the president has led to astronomical increase in price of goods and services, thereby pushing millions of Nigerians into abject poverty.
The politician said that the action of the Tinubu-led Federal Government has worsened the socio-economic situation in the country.
According to him, the distribution of palliative through the state governors will not solve the present situation of the Nigerian masses.
He said that induring the regime of President Buhari, government started a social work programme, adding that it was difficult to point to poor citizens that benefitted. He alleged that it was used by politicians to sort out their children, relatives and those who they loved.
Government should focus on subsidising production rather than consumption. The 185 billion naira cannot be accounted for while an average Nigerian needs help. Most Nigerians need help,” he said.
He explained that handing N5 billion to state governors was just theoretically sweet in the tongue but difficult to implement.
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According to him, the Federal government should have used the money to purchase buses and place them in the Federal Capital Territory and in other states for easy and cheap transportation.
“The FG should have directed the state governors to, instead of buying rice, oil, noodles to share to families, they should just get enough buses and share across the 774 local governments of the federation to crash transport fares and reduce hardship.
He further expressed fears that most of the state governors would not distribute anything to masses, adding, “even if they give, they need serious evaluation across all local governments for accountability.”
Chendan however, commended the effort of the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum for the great job done in distributing the palliative 100percent to his people, because he’s the only governor that have been going all round the local government area to check whether the committees set up for the purpose are doing justice to the assignment.
“Professor Zulum of Borno State shared N30,000 to each of the 1,215 Corpers currently in his state for their three weeks orientation camping. He spent about N36.4million cash. He also allocated 100 bags of rice, 10 cows, 10 bags of 100 kg of beans, and 10 gallons of cooking oil for special meal for corps members during the ongoing three weeks orientation camp and also bought buses for easy transportation to farmers in order to reduce hardship across borderline,” he said.
He urged all political office holders, particularly senators and House of Representatives members to initiate investment programmes within their various constituencies, of at least N500million to N1billion project like ICT, Fish farming, Cow Ranching, among others.
“While we acknowledge the complex and difficult decisions taken by the government to manage the nation’s economy, there is urgent need to prioritise measures that will alleviate rather than exacerbate the existing poverty level and hardship of Nigerians.
“This has placed an enormous hardship on the already struggling masses, making life extremely difficult for them to afford the basic necessities of life,” he said.