OrderPaperToday – House of Representatives Member, Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi) has criticized President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for increase in price of fuel and electricity tariff.

According to him, the move is an “anti-people” 60th Independence gift to Nigerians on the 1st of October in the history of the country.

His reaction was contained in a statement signed by himself on Monday.

For Yusuf, the administration should have considered the “woes of millions of Nigerians” and rather than make them “further wallow in miserable poverty and depression”.

He said: “Nigerians emerged from the Covid-19 lockdown, hoping that government’s much-expected fulfilment of its populist slogans will follow the good examples of other countries, including nearby Ghana where massive arrangements were made for enhanced supply of water and electricity to vulnerable communities nationwide during this trying period.

“Instead, few weeks to our 60th independence anniversary, they again brought additional insensitive yokes upon the people; compared with the pre-2015 prosperity era, the cost of one bag of rice rose from N8,500 to now equal minimum wage, Naira now exchanges for N420 instead of N200 and Nigeria’s debts rose from $9.7 billion to $27 billion while they now look for even more loans.

“On September 1, 2020, the APC government announced a drastic anti-people increase of electricity tariffs and less than twenty-four hours later, it increased petrol price from N148 to N151.56 per litre even when VAT and other taxes had been increased to price lots of amenities out of the reach of many struggling Nigerians.”

He cited the current official inflation rate at about 13% and unemployment at 27.1% alongside the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indices that more than 21,764,614 Nigerians are now unemployed noting that Nigerian youths remain the hardest hit by unemployment with over 13.9 million people aged between 15 and 34 years unemployed.

He described the hike as “a gross hypocrisy” from the incumbent government as against the promise of better life, good governance and positive.

The lawmaker stated that the APC led administration “only made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world is further reflected in perplexing and opaque expenditure like the N523.3m said to have been used to feed pupils during the COVID-19 lockdown while even the Presidential Villa is known for bewildering 2019 budgetary allocations such as N135. 6 million for mere refreshments, another N145 million for foodstuffs and kitchen materials, N22.8 million for flower plants, N576. 7 million for vehicle spare parts, along with the sum of N986,908,251 for unexplained ‘miscellaneous’ spending”.

He continued: “It will forever remain on record that under APC, in just one week alone, worse poverty and uncertainties overtook millions of Nigerians, complicating existing problems that include mass youth unemployment, worsening inflation, continuing highway robberies, abduction-for-ransom and continuous onslaught from ‘technically-defeated’ terrorists who seem very unimpressed by the current administration’s unusual magnanimity in rehabilitating hundreds of Boko Haram terrorists even while many IDPs receive scanty attention.

“Even though this administration that promised Utopian fantasies is giving the masses very hellish experiences, it is commendable that the latest price hikes are being condemned nationwide, with labour, professionals, survivors of Covid-19, human rights groups and various CSOs defying the administration’s track record of vile intimidation to raise their voices.”

The lawmaker representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency of Kogi further reacted saying: ” What happened to all their campaign promises; do Nigerians really deserve such odious and obnoxious independence anniversary gift even as government contemplates tightening the economic noose further?

“It is very unfortunate that the only independence anniversary that the current APC government can give millions of suffering masses are measures with definitive implications of immediately bringing more Nigerians into abject poverty and hopelessness than ever recorded in the history of Nigeria.”

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