BusinessDay

Petrol subsidy: N2.4trn can tackle insecurity in Nigeria – Lukman

...urges APC to debate end to insecurity at convention

Salihu Lukman, the director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) says it will make more economic sense to use N2.4 trillion to recruit more police and military personnel to tackle insecurity than the proposed monthly allowance of N5,000 to 40 million Nigerians to cushion the effects of the planned fuel subsidy removal.

He questioned why it seems impossible for Nigerians, including Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to negotiate that instead of spending an estimated N1.8 trillion on petroleum subsidy, the money be directed to strengthen Nigerian security services, given all the security challenges facing the country.

Lukman in a statement in Abuja wondered why the organized labour keeps insisting on payment of subsidy on petrol even when the challenges of mobilizing more financial resources to address the problem of insecurity demand that government must restructure its expenditure.

“NLC, TUC, and indeed all Nigerian trade unions believe that it is the sole responsibility of government to mobilize all the needed financial resources. Already, as things are NLC has already issued strike notice to protest any proposal to withdraw subsidy on petroleum products, scheduled for January 27, 2022.

“Imagine NLC, TUC, and civil society leaders in Nigeria directing their energy towards negotiating an agreement with the government to apply financial resources creatively towards addressing national security challenges by recruiting more police and security personnel in the country”, he said.

Lukman also appealed to the leaders of the APC to include a debate about what needs to be done to mobilise the support of Nigerians to bring to an immediate end the current national security challenge in the country at the party’s national convention scheduled for February.

Read also: Petrol subsidy spend equals 48% of 2021 tax income

He said recommendations that would emerge from the convention should guide the process of reviewing the APC’s manifesto, adding unlike other parties such as the PDP, the ruling party must continue to set the needed political agenda to drive the process of mobilizing Nigerians for change.

The APC chieftain said as a party envisioned to be social-democratic, in addition to the challenge of insecurity facing the country, the issue of massive mobilization of financial investment towards the development of education and health sectors in Nigeria must also be debated at its convention.

The PGF director-general argued that once the debate at APC Convention in February is limited to who emerged as leaders of the party without addressing these fundamental issues, the ability of the party to mobilize Nigerians to build a new Nigeria would have been sacrificed.

“Having demonstrated political commitment towards infrastructural development in the country, which has led to the revival of rail transportation and reconstruction of road networks in the country, APC must initiate the rebirth of public education and public health in the country through similar massive investment to build new schools and hospitals, rehabilitate old ones, mass recruitment of teachers and provision of teaching materials.

“As we say goodbye to 2021, therefore, APC leaders must focus the planning for its February National Convention towards mobilizing the support of Nigerians to contribute in every way necessary, including making personal sacrifices to create the New Nigeria every citizen desire,” he stated.

Lukman disclosed that the Federal Government is working on a plan to recruit additional 280,000 more police personnel in all the 774 local governments as the 10,000 being recruited is a far cry.

“10,000 additional police personnel mean an average of about 12 police in each of the 774 local governments. If the target of 280,000 additional personnel is to be met there should be at least 350 more police personnel in each local government.

“Currently, the total number of police personnel in the country is less than 400,000. With less than 400,000 police personnel, it simply means an average of about 500 per local government, which is far more than what exists.

“Achieving the target of recruiting enough police personnel is a function of how much financial resources can be mobilized. The risk of recruiting, training, providing arms, and meeting the operational costs of the police without guaranteed funding could only compound the problem of insecurity in Nigeria”, he stated.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.