A group, Rural Community Development Outreach (RCDO) has urged state to resist plots by politicians to blackmail them with the intention to highjack from them the N5billion subsidy palliative announced for states by President Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu had announced the disbursement of funds to states to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy from petroleum by his government.
The group said it has uncovered plans by some people to highjack the funds from governors, while also cajoling them to submission through blackmail and unfavourable media reports.
In a statement by its Nigerian Coordinator, Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe and Secretary, Danjuma Othman Mohammed, the group said the move would impoverish the rural people, who the funds were meant to pull out of poverty.
The statement reads in part, “As the nation witnesses an inspiring shift towards rural development and agricultural revitalization, the looming threat to the equitable distribution of the recently announced N5billion palliative has set off alarm bells.
“The N5billion palliative, a key component of President Bola Tinubu’s intervention program to mitigate the impact of the oil subsidy removal, is now a pawn in the hands of political power-brokers.
“Our intelligence reveals a troubling pattern where seasoned political operatives are leveraging their influence to arm twist state governors into parting with the funds.
“Those who dare to stand against this coercion and refuse to succumb to the pressure of sharing the N5billion with political cronies and godfathers are being confronted with threats of media manipulation through foreign-based online newspapers, beyond the reach of Nigeria’s legal jurisdiction.”
The group called on governors to remain resilient, and resist attempts by power brokers in their states to take what belonged to the masses.
It mentioned states like Anambra, Bauchi, Borno and Adamawa, as some of those who have begun initiative to rescue their people, by marshalling out policies to channel their state’s N5billion into agricultural incentives and infrastructural amenities.
The group argued that if the highjack plot worked, ordinary citizens and rural communities of the affected states would be the worst hit.
“With over 133 million Nigerians already languishing below the poverty line, there is no room for self-serving politicians to interrupt this trajectory towards inclusive development. These are crucial times that demand unwavering patriotism from all Nigerians.
“We call on the governors, especially Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state and Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State who are already being attacked to resist them, and work for the benefits of the people.”