The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) via its President, Sunday Asefon during a press conference held in Abuja has threatened to shut down the country should the Federal Government proceed with its planned petrol subsidy removal in 2022.
He noted that although NANS was not totally against deregulation, the conditions for such already agreed upon must be out in place before deregulation.
NANS, in a statement titled “Nigeria will be shut down should the Federal Government attempt the removal of fuel subsidy as allegedly being proposed,” also called on Nigerians and all its allied structures to be on the alert for further directives on the next action.
“None of those conditions is in place at the moment. It is therefore very strange that the Federal Government could contemplate the removal of fuel subsidy now.
“The four refineries are not functioning, and if they are functioning at all, it is at a near-zero level. There is zero consultation with stakeholders to even consider issues around deregulation and why it should or should not be. The survival of Nigerian workers and their wards is yet to be discussed, yet a date that may take lives out of them have been fixed.
“Furthermore, inflation is already passing a skyrocketing level. So we may need to find a word to describe the kind of inflation that will be experienced if the pump price of PMS goes above 200 per cent.
“In fact, we are very convinced that the Federal Government is acting impulsively on a matter as sensitive as this.
“NANS is rudely shocked by the statement credited to the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari to the effect that Premium Motor Spirit could sell as much as three hundred and forty N340 by February 2022. This is said to be due to the plan of the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy and usher in an era of so-called deregulation.
“Even more absurd is the proposal announced by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed that N5,000 will be paid to 40 million vulnerable Nigerians to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
“NANS is still trying hard to make an iota of good sense out of this strange proposal. We shall return to this particular point.
“But let us first of all categorically state that on behalf of the suffering millions of Nigerian students and on behalf of the millions of the frustrated masses of the Nigerian people who are our parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, friends and neighbours, we reject this socio-economic evil proposal and we shall resist it.
“Nigerians are really suffering. We are in dire socio-economic straits. We are weeping in our hearts and souls. We are dying in silence. We feel the agony and anguish because we are practically involved. Therefore, any attempt to aggravate the social woes and economic manacles that we already face and wear will not only be unconscionable but reckless. It will amount to testing the patience of Nigerians too far. And we wish to warn against it.
“The country is very stretched and tensed. In case the government is not aware, we are passing them this intelligence free of charge now. Again we advise, let the government not stretch it further. The consequences will be dire. The people are already flamed. Mendacity will beget mendacity. NANS is happy that the organised labour and civil society groups have all rejected the proposal.
“We shall ensure that the entire country is shut down and paralysed should the Federal Government proceed with its insensitive plan of deregulation, or even any further increase in the pump price of fuel. We have had enough.
“We know that neo-liberal and imperial economists will soon emerge to confuse themselves with some well-rehearsed stale analysis and commentaries. Let us tell them already that nothing can change except the practical reality of the socio-economic condition of Nigerians changes.
“No deregulation can happen on the basis of import-driven deregulation. We are aware of our reality with all the ones already deregulated, including Kerosene, diesel and cooking gas (which price has gone totally out of control).”
NANS further noted that in the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the Federal Government already provided for fuel subsidy.