By Tochukwu Daniels
THE Yoruba One Voice (YOV), a coalition of all Yoruba groups and organisations in the diaspora, consisting of more than fifty Yoruba organisations from the four continents of the world has strongly expressed concerns over the federal government’s increase of electricity tariff and fuel price in Nigeria.
In a press statement made available to newsmen from Toronto, Canada by International Human Rights Journalist, and Communication Director of YOV, Zeachus Somorin, the coalition pointed that the actions of the Federal government are insensitive and inconsiderate, considering the impacts of COVID-19 on citizens.
Somorin stated that, “most countries of the world are giving stimulus packages to their citizens , ranging from $800 to $1500 weekly, instead of the Nigerian Government to focus on economic recovery and revival,using the stimulus package model of COVID 19 adopted by countries ,such as Australia, United Kingdom, United States or Canada, the government decided to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol ,to N151.56 per litre ,and electricity tariff.
“‘The government is insensitive to the socio-economic plights and impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians and businesses; the electoral promises have not all been fulfilled. The President’s wife should not be going abroad for treatment if the health sector is good. Economic recovery should be the focus to avoid recession”.
YOV said that the Federal Government of Nigeria is under intense pressure by the World Bank to make meaninful reforms. According to Somorin, Nigeria applied for a $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank. However, the World Bank has stated that it won’t grant the loan because Nigeria is heading towards its greatest fiscal crisis in 40 years if certain reforms are not made. While it is necessary to make reforms that would boost the economy,Somorin said it is shocking that the Nigerian government would make these reforms at the detriment of its cagitation Does the Nigerian Government make use of economists and policy analysts in its decision making process? I don’t think so” ,he stated.
The coalition however called on the Federal Govt to reject the World Bank loan in its entirety, saying if the FG refuses, Nigeria will go into recession and more Nigerians would become poorer than we have witnessed in the last 40 years.
According to YOV, this is the time for the federal government to make use of all the tax money in its coffers, and the recovered loots from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “The loan from the World Bank would create more problems than solutions”,he stressed. YOV therefore advised the federal government to release money into the economy through stimulus packages, this it said would keep businesses going, and would prevent inflation and recession.
It added that, “unnecessary hardship that may result in high suicide rates, family violence and mental health breakdownshould be matters of concern to the federal government during these difficult times than electricity and petrol increase.
YOV posited that the continued agitation for self determination by different ethnic groups in Nigeria has been motivated by insecurity across the country, saying the government may, in the short run, be forced to accept a referendum to renegotiate Nigeria; as almost all the Northern states have the active presence of active terrorist groups wrecking havoc on innocent Nigerians.
Somorin, therefore, called on Civil Society groups, Labour Unions and all concerned Nigerians to rise against the government’s inconsiderate and calous attitude towards Nigerians.