Mixed reactions have continued to trail President Bola Tinubu’s five billion naira palliatives targeted at cushioning effects of petroleum subsidy removal.
While some of residents of Anambra State have hailed the decision, others described it as white painted sepulcre.
State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Humphrey Nwafor described the palliative as inadequate for the state in view of its population and current cost of living.
He called for increased minimum wage as solution to the current problems.
He said, “When you talk of removal of fuel subsidy, it doesn’t affect civil servants alone. It’s affect everyone. Given each state 5bn, a state like Ekiti can be comfortable with it, not Anambra with a population of over 3million.
“I wonder what N5bn or 3000 bags of rice going to do with the such population? For me, what I think is the solution is for government to fashion a way to reduce inflation. Cost of living is very high.
“Besides, they should increase minimum wage for civil servants. Meanwhile, some states are not even paying the minimum wage. I’ll reserve my comments on ours because we’re still discussing with the government.”
Anambra Civil Society network (ACSONET) Chairman, Comrade Chris Azor, described the step as commendable too, but a mere drop in the bucket in view of the enormous excruciating social and economic pains, the citizens were presently passing through.
He said, “I think it’s a good gesture and commendable. However, feelers we are getting is that the support is a loan facility with modalities of repayment.
“It’s therefore, optional to the States to take the loans or reject it. This is a very unlikely time to take loans, considering downward trend of the Naira.
“The fact remains that the facility is still a mere drop in the bucket, considering the enormous, excruciating social and economic pains, the citizens are going through at the moment.
“Tinubu administration is expected to come up with a strategic, knowledgeable and sustainable approach to fixing the economy and indeed Nigeria.
“This ad-hoc approach without any detailed blueprint can’t work/or be sustained on the long run.
“Again, there are issues and concerns about accountability mechanisms to be put in place. For instance, how would they properly identify the poor beneficiaries at the subnational levels” Asor said
Former Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Dennis Aribodo stressed the need for state governments to engage organisations and stakeholders to fashion out the best way to utilise the money to ameliorate the masses suffering.
He said, “While appreciating the gesture of the federal government to states and since the money is called palliative, which means reducing the socio-economic pain citizens of Nigeria are currently passing through, it is important that state governments engage organisations and stakeholders to fashion out the best to utilise the money to actually ameliorate the suffering of the masses.
“For me, apart from the areas of transportation and food, other areas of interest should include health and education”
For Emeka Ogbuji, a teacher, he described the palliative as insulting, saying, “Let Peter Obi recover his mandate.
“We don’t need palliatives. We are citizens of this country. We are not beggers; giving us palliatives is insulting.”
A christian cleric, Pastor Chijioke Nwokeke expressed fears that the funds would end up as money for the “boys “.
He said he would have even preferred the money being channelled towards subsidising fuel for Nigerians for one month instead of handing it over to the Governors to distribute.
He said, “The problem of the nation have never been about policy rather policy implementation. I would have even preferred that the Federal Government uses the money to subsidise fuel for all for one month instead of giving the Governors. This money that will eventually end up in the pocket of few individuals at the corridor of power.
“Until our refineries are fixed this problem will continue. But since this money have been given I will advise the Governors to use it for the good of all like buying of coaster buses for each local government of the state and the state capital to easy the challenges of transportation and probably send a “token to our bank accounts for us to enjoy small”. My fear is that this will end up as money for the “boys”
For Executive Director, Catch Them Young Community Initiative (CATYCOI), Nonso Orakwe, the palliatives were unnecesary and unsustainable, advising it was rather channelled to health sector.
He said, “The palliative will die a natural death. This is unsustainable support to governors that will finally yield zero results and keep Nigerians in perpetual suffering. To me, there’s no need for the palliative.
“The palliative is just to dash the governors money. I suggest that they channel the money to health. Let’s have a subsidy on health. Our people are dying.”