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Nigerians call for subsidy return to ease hardship

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Residents of Osun State staged a peaceful protest on Monday in demand of the return of subsidy to alleviate the rising cost of living and economic hardship in the country.

Nigerians also fault the decision of the Federal Government to give the proceeds of oil subsidy removal to the governors.

Speaking during a protest held by the groups in Osogbo, the state capital, one of the conveners, Mr. Waheed Saka, said the protest was organized to prepare the ground for a bigger demonstration against the economic crisis ravaging the country.

The protesters had converged at Freedom Park, Osogbo, from where they moved around the streets before they assembled under Olaiya Bridge, where they spoke to journalists.

A large number of armed policemen, as well as operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, were at the venue of the protest, observing happenings as the protesters sang various songs depicting the hardship Nigerians were going through.

Speaking further, Saka, who warned that current economic hardship may lead to bigger crises if not checked, declared that governors have not been good managers of resources entrusted to them in the past.

He said, “The essence of this protest is to mobilise the people for a bigger and larger protest that will be done nationwide, that will force the arms of government to do the right thing. We are not requesting too much; we are saying to fulfil your promise. That is not too much to ask from the government, and the promise is not to make life difficult for the people or increase hardship for average Nigerians.

“That is not what President Bola Tinubu promised us. We understand that there are a lot of issues, but we said don’t remove subsidy and give the money to governors. Governors over the years have not been able to manage their resources effectively; why are you taking off the relief of an average Nigerian and giving the money to governors to spend?

“That is not sustainable, and now the devaluation of the naira has led to an increase in the price of fuel because it is having a snowball effect on food and livelihood. President Tinubu should act now because he is already pushing our people to the precipice.

“We are saying act right; we are saying enough is enough because we can’t continue, year in and year out, to talk about doing the right thing. We are saying enough about IMF and World Bank policies.

“We know that over the years we have had an average leader here working for all these international multilateral agencies, but we don’t expect somebody who has promised that he has been planning to be president for many years to toll the same line of being a puppet of the IMF and World Bank.

“People are enjoying subsidy in different countries; why can’t Nigerians enjoy subsidy too? That is the only thing you give us; why are you taking the only thing that people are enjoying away?That is why we are protesting, and that is why we are on the street to mobilize ordinary people. This is not a labour movement issue; it is a concern for every Nigerian, and that is why we are here.”

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