BREAKING: Ukraine delegation arrives Belarus for peace talks with Russia - AfrobadooTV
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BREAKING: Ukraine delegation arrives Belarus for peace talks with Russia



Report has it that Ukraine delegation has arrived for peace talks with Russia at the Belarus border.

Russia and Ukraine were preparing Monday for their first talks since Moscow’s invasion, as fighting raged and Western-led sanctions started to bite with the ruble collapsing.

Ukraine said Sunday it had agreed to send a delegation to meet Russian representatives on the border with Belarus, which would be the foes’ first public contact since war erupted.

Belarus announced Monday that the venue for the talks had been prepared and they would start as soon as the delegations arrived.

However, with his government reporting hundreds of civilian deaths and Russian troops besieging key cities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was sceptical about the talks.

“As always: I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try,” he said.

Russia invaded on Thursday and quickly announced it had neutralised key military facilities, but fierce fighting has since raged and Ukraine forces are reporting some success.

“The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive,” the general staff of the Ukraine armed forces said.

The United States has also said that Ukraine forces, backed by Western arms, are stymieing the advance of Russian troops.

Putin on Sunday ordered Russia’s nuclear forces onto high alert in response to what he called “unfriendly” steps by the West. Russia has the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and a huge cache of ballistic missiles.

The United States, the world’s second largest nuclear power, slammed Putin’s order as “totally unacceptable”.

Germany said Putin’s nuclear order was because his offensive had “halted” and was not going to plan.

– Economic pressure –
The campaign by the United States and its allies to build economic pressure on Russia also showed more signs on Monday of having an impact.

Russia’s central bank announced Monday it was more than doubling its key interest rate to 20 percent because the Russian economy’s situation had “drastically changed”.

The value of the ruble also continued to collapse against the dollar and the euro on the Moscow Stock Exchange on Monday.

And the European Central Bank warned Monday that the European subsidiary of the Russian state-owned Sberbank was facing bankruptcy.

The Kremlin has brushed off sanctions, including those targeting Putin personally, as a sign of Western impotence.

Among the sanctions, the West has said it would remove some Russian banks from the SWIFT bank messaging system, and freeze central bank assets.

The United States and its allies are seeking to continue building the diplomatic and military pressure, as well as economic.

EU member states closed their airspace to Russian planes and many pledged arms for Ukraine — but stressed they would not themselves intervene militarily.

Brussels announced it would provide 450 million euros ($500 million) for Ukraine to buy weapons and ban Russian central bank transactions, as well as restricting two Moscow-run media outlets.

British energy giant BP also said Sunday it was pulling its 19.75-percent stake in Rosneft, a blow to Russia’s key oil and gas sector, which is partly reliant on Western technology.

The White House said it would hold a secure call with allies and partners Monday to discuss “developments” in Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “coordinate our united response”.

The UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency session Monday to discuss the conflict.

Also in response to hostilities, FIFA ordered Russia to play its home international fixtures in neutral venues and warned it was considering banning it from the 2022 World Cup.

– Defending cities  –
On day four of an invasion that stunned the world, Ukrainian forces said Sunday they had defeated a Russian incursion into Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials said they were fighting off Russian forces in several other areas, and claimed that 4,300 Russian troops had been killed.

The Ukrainian army said Monday morning that Russian forces had “several times” attempted to storm the outskirts of Kyiv overnight, but all attacks were repelled.

“The situation in the capital of our homeland is under control,” said the army on Facebook.

Local media reported strong explosions heard throughout Sunday night in both Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovich said on Telegram early Monday the capital had been targeted overnight by three Russian missile strikes, one of which was intercepted.

The southern city of Berdiansk is now occupied by Russian soldiers, he added.

Ukraine has reported 352 civilian deaths, including 14 children, since the invasion began. Russia has acknowledged that a number of its forces had been killed or injured.

– ‘Humanitarian crisis’ –
The United Nations has put the civilian toll at 64 while the EU said more than seven million people could be displaced by the conflict.

“We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many, many years,” the EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic said.

Ukraine has called on its own civilians to fight Russia, with a brewery in Lviv in the country’s west switching its production line from beers to bombs, making Molotov cocktails for the volunteer fighters.

At the Medyka border crossing with Poland, volunteer Jasinska said the long line of arrivals, mostly women and children, need warm clothes.

Crossing Medyka with his family, Ajmal Rahmani, an Afghan who fled Afghanistan for Ukraine four months before the US withdrawal, told AFP: “I run from one war, come to another country and another war starts. Very bad luck”.

Putin has said Russia’s actions are justified because it is defending Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The rebels have been fighting Ukrainian government forces for eight years in a conflict that has killed more than 14,000 people.



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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Edo civil servants to work for three days a week



EDO State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has empathized with Edo people in the wake of the rise in prices of goods and services and overall cost of living occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, announcing measures to ameliorate the sufferings currently faced by the people as a result of the policy.

In a statement in Benin yesterday, Obaseki said the state government has reduced the number of work days that civil and public servants will have to commute to their workplaces from five days a week to three days a week, among other measures.

He said: “In the wake of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, fuel prices have increased astronomically leading to a rise in prices of goods and services and overall cost of living.

“The Edo State Government shares the pains of our people and wants to assure everyone that we are standing with them in these very challenging times.

“We want to reassure our people that we will do all within our powers as a sub-national government to reduce the pains and ameliorate the sufferings our people are currently facing due to the current realities.”

The governor further noted, “As a proactive government, we have since taken the step to increase the minimum wage paid to workers in Edo State from the approved N30,000 to N40,000, the highest in the country today.

“We want to assure you that we will continue to pay this amount, while we hope to increase it even further if more allocation accrues to our State from the Federal Government in view of the expected savings occasioned by the removal of the fuel subsidy.

“We know the hardship that has been caused by this policy which has radically increased the cost of transportation, eating deep into the wages of workers in the State. Therefore, the Edo State Government is hereby reducing the number of work days that civil and public servants will have to commute to their workplaces from five days a week to three days a week till further notice. Workers will now work from home two days a week.

“Similarly, for teachers and parents, their commuting to school will be reduced as the government is working on deepening the EdoBEST@Home initiative to create more virtual classrooms, thereby reducing the cost of commuting on parents, teachers and pupils. The Edo SUBEB will provide details on this initiative in the coming days.”


He added, “To lower the rising cost of energy on our people, we will continue to work with the electricity companies in the State to improve power supply to homes and businesses.

“Similarly, fibre optic connections are being made available to help our people work remotely, thereby reducing their cost of transportation.

“While government intensifies these efforts to alleviate the burden of the fuel price increase on the people during this very challenging period, we want to call on everyone to remain calm and go about their daily businesses lawfully.”


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Tingo Mobile and Dozy Mmobuosi Illuminate Wonderland Lagos with Unmatched partnership



In a groundbreaking alliance that is set to transform the yuletide season, Wonderland Lagos, the enchanting holiday village designed for families and friends, has announced Tingo Mobile as its esteemed lead sponsor for its inaugural edition. With the grand opening held on a memorable Thursday, December 17, Wonderland Lagos, nestled within the vibrant Eko Atlantic Energy City in Victoria Island, promises to redefine the essence of the festive season. And at the heart of this transformative experience lies the need for a seamless payment structure that can bring holiday dreams to life.

Enter Tingo Mobile, the extraordinary all-in-one financial solution application meticulously crafted to empower Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), providing them with unmatched ease and convenience for their transactions. It is this very commitment to innovation and customer-centricity that has propelled Tingo Mobile to secure its place as the lead sponsor for Wonderland Lagos’s eagerly anticipated first edition in December.

Amidst the excitement surrounding this monumental collaboration, Dozy Mmobuosi, the visionary CEO of Tingo Mobile, cannot contain his elation as he reflects upon the partnership with Wonderland Lagos. With heartfelt enthusiasm, he shares, “Wonderland Lagos is more than just an exhilarating project; it is an embodiment of joy and togetherness. We are honored to provide a seamless payment platform that will enrich the entire holiday experience. Our mission is clear: to make this December an unforgettable and awe-inspiring adventure for every single fun seeker.”

Echoing Dozy Mmobuosi’s sentiments, Ezekiel Adamu, the esteemed co-founder of Wonderland Lagos and CEO of Balmoral Group, extols the alignment of values and purpose between the two visionary enterprises. With an unwavering commitment to delivering extraordinary and rewarding experiences, from the seamless payment process to the myriad of thrilling activities that await, Adamu declares, “We are truly elated to welcome Tingo Mobile aboard this momentous journey toward creating an enchanting wonderland. Together, we will bring our shared vision to life, painting smiles on the faces of every visitor who graces our shores.”

The collaboration between Tingo Mobile and Wonderland Lagos transcends mere sponsorship, intertwining the dreams and aspirations of two remarkable entities. Their united pursuit of excellence and their unwavering dedication to the happiness of their patrons forge an unbreakable bond that is destined to create magical moments and lifelong memories. As Wonderland Lagos prepares to unveil its mesmerizing wonders, Tingo Mobile stands as a shining beacon of seamless transactions, illuminating the path to an extraordinary holiday experience.

This December, let the harmonious symphony of Tingo Mobile and Wonderland Lagos guide you to a realm where joy knows no bounds and dreams come to life. Together, they unveil a world where every moment is etched with happiness and every transaction is infused with ease. It is a testament to the indomitable spirit of Dozy Mmobuosi and the extraordinary legacy of Tingo Mobile, as they uplift and transform the lives of all who seek wonder and delight in the magical realm of Wonderland Lagos.

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FG, Labour meeting deadlocked as fuel price hits over N700/litre



Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.


Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

‘Negotiation ongoing’

On his part, Dele Alake, who spoke on behalf of the Federal Government said the negotiations were ongoing and the parties will reconvene on a yet-to-be-defined date.

Earlier, NNPCL’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said in a statement issued in Abuja, that the price hike was in line with market realities, stressing that the cost of petrol would continue to fluctuate with market dynamics.

This implies that the oil firm has deregulated the product, leaving its price to swing along with the dictates of the global petroleum products market.

“NNPC Limited wishes to inform our esteemed customers that we have adjusted our pump prices of PMS across our retail outlets in line with current market realities.

“As we strive to provide you with the quality service for which we are known, it is pertinent to note that prices will continue to fluctuate to reflect market dynamics. We assure you that NNPC Limited is committed to ensuring a ceaseless supply of products,” the oil company stated.

Before it issued its statement, a price list tagged, ‘Current NNPC Pump Price’ and ‘New pump price per May 31, 2023,’ indicated the latest cost of PMS in various states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Figures in the document indicated that while the cost of petrol in Borno State was put at N557/litre, the prices in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Ekiti were pegged at N488/l, N537/l, N520/l and N500/l, respectively.

The costs of the commodity at NNPCL stations for the other states were also contained in the document.

The President of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed the document to be true which implied that the cost of petrol had been increased to over N500/litre in the states by the NNPCL.

Asked whether the document on the new pump price of petrol, purportedly issued by the NNPCL to oil marketers was true, Gillis-Harry replied, “Correct.”

NLC to meet

In response to the NNPCL’s action, the National Executive Council of the NLC has summoned an emergency meeting for Friday to discuss the situation and take a stand on behalf of Nigerian workers.

Speaking with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, the National Treasurer of the NLC, Hakeem Ambali said, “NLC had summoned an emergency meeting for Friday, June 2nd in Abuja to ratify labour position on this notwithstanding the parley with Federal Government.”

But a reliable source hinted that the NLC may issue an ultimatum to the government over the subsidy removal.

The source who spoke under anonymity said, “We will be meeting. An ultimatum will definitely be issued for the government to rescind its decision. But I will want the NLC president to confirm that to you.”

Reacting to the pump price adjustment, the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Mr Wale Oyerinde, observed that the situation had led to an astronomical increase in the prices of food.

Oyerinde said any increase in the pump price will lower the people’s real disposable income, adding that the economy will contract in terms of growth.

‘Increase badly managed’

The economist noted, “The increase, if not well managed, could lead to an increase in the prices of goods and services with consequential effects on the purchasing power of the already impoverished Nigerian.

‘’Already, the inflation rate in the country is high at 22.22 per cent as recorded in April 2023 and as such, any increase in the pump price of fuel will further accelerate inflation, which will distort and destabilize economic activities, shrink private sector business capital and lower the real disposable income of the people.

‘’No doubt, therefore, the economy would contract in terms of growth; business activities will face serious backlash; and aggregate consumption will fall due to inflationary pressure.”

He said there is a need for systematic and strategic removal of the subsidy to avoid impoverishing Nigerians further.

“While it is desirable to remove the fuel subsidy, which in real terms is subsidizing inefficiency and corruption, it is important that the removal is systematically and strategically done in order not to impoverish further and worsen the already bad socio-economic indicators such as employment, poverty per capita income and many more,’’ he recommended.

Oyerinde said it was worrisome that prices of various commodities have skyrocketed a few hours after the President’s pronouncement on subsidy removal.

‘’Consequently, it is critically important that the new government approaches the removal of the subsidy with caution to circumvent further degeneration in the economy,’’ he admonished.

The NECA DG advised on the need to step up the complete rehabilitation of the refineries to complement the newly commissioned Dangote Refinery.

On his part, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa said that while the new pump price would cause hardship in the short term, the benefits of discontinuing the subsidy regime would be felt in the long term.

He said, “The consequences (of the new fuel price) were predictable. It’s just that we were not willing to confront them. It’s like having a monster in you that you’re not ready to confront until you decide that it’s time to fight the monster and get rid of it. There will be pain. It was known that there would be pain if we removed the subsidy. That pain will be there for a while. It depends on how much both parties do to reduce the period of severe pain.”

An economist, Mr Tajudeen Ibrahim, said, “It will have an inflationary impact on the economy. But in the medium to long term, the benefits to the economy are enormous because they will be investing the subsidy in projects that will drive economic activities and put Nigeria on a stronger footing in terms of economic growth, these are my expectations.”

Appraising the decision of the new government on subsidy removal, the People’s Democratic Party has said it is not surprised by the development because Tinubu during his electioneering campaigns promised to sustain the legacies of former president Muhammadu Buhari.

The opposition party asked Nigerians to brace up for more pains in the months ahead, stressing that it warned citizens of what awaited them should the All Progressives Congress win the 2023 presidential polls.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, however, urged Nigerians not to despair but to keep hope alive.

He said, “There is nothing to say anymore that we have not said. Bola Tinubu said he was going to continue with the policies of Muhammadu Buhari, which are policies of pain, anguish, sorrow, suffering, disregard for human lives and insensitivity. It is Biblical in that a man said ‘My father chastised you with a whip, I will chastise you with scorpions. Scorpions are more deadly than a whip.’

“Buhari has done his part and Tinubu has come to continue with the same agenda which is for personal aggrandizement. What are the legacies of Buhari? Insecurity, disunity, dislocation, poor living conditions and reduced life expectancy of Nigerians.

“We are hoping that Nigerians are still praying for an end to this. This is not about PDP or APC but about Nigerians. We warned about this and now, we are all feeling the heat. The new petrol pump price does not know APC or PDP.”

Ologunagba also took a swipe at the immediate former president for his role in mobilizing Nigerians against the planned, gradual phase-out of the subsidy regime when the PDP was in power.

“In 2012 when the then government of Goodluck Jonathan mooted the idea of a gradual phase-out of petroleum subsidy and presented a roadmap of how to go about it, it was Buhari who mobilized Nigerians to ground the country. Now, those who participated in that ‘Operation Ground Nigeria’ have lost their voices and we hope they will be permanently silent,” he added.

He further described the increment in the pump price as inhuman saying, “How do you explain a price hike from N195 to N537? That is almost a 400 per cent increase. This is only the tip of the iceberg!

“We told Nigerians that there would be more taxes, more pain. What is the purpose of government if not the security and welfare of the people? If you are going to bring about a policy that will affect them, there must be an engagement.

“I give you an example: In the early 2000s, in a county in the United Kingdom, they were going to increase bus fares from 25 pence to 30 pence. They had one year to debate it with the people. People were asked, ‘What is the level of your income?’ The people were part of the conversation and that is the way to go in a decent society. Here, we are close to a state of nature, and it is unfortunate,” he lamented.

The Chief Spokesman for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, knocked Tinubu for failing to consult properly before making his pronouncement on subsidy withdrawal.

Tanko lamented that the president’s action had left the masses, which were unprepared for the shock, in pain.

He said, “This president has made a false start without preparing the ground. That shows he is not even prepared to take leadership because he made those statements blatantly without considering the consequences of his action.

“In fact, he said with pomp and pageantry as if it was a collective decision that was taken to save this country. But look at what it has caused. Instantaneously, it has caused disharmony and pain to the Nigerian people. Yet, he is not prepared to take care of it.

“So I don’t think he should be exonerated from the causes of this particular problem. Because obviously, the mad rush, long queues and panic buying started after he made that statement. Now, we are all suffering for it. It is a case of ‘suffering meeting another suffering’ or as some will say ‘from frying pan to fire’ raised to power two.”

On what the president can do to mitigate the situation, the LP campaign spokesman disclosed that he should focus on providing palliatives to cushion the effect immediately.

Similarly, the Coalition of United Political Parties blamed the President for the crisis which it said was caused by his utterance on the subsidy removal, stressing that the inauguration day was not the proper time to make such a statement.

CUPP in a statement on Wednesday by its National Co-spokesperson, Mark Adebayo, frowned on the artificial scarcity created by hoarders of petroleum products, describing the action as wicked and inhumane.

“Since the fuel subsidy regime still subsists till the middle of the year, the president should have been silent on it. To declare matter-of-fact in such a tactless manner that “subsidy is gone” allows unpatriotic oil marketers to cause the harrowing experiences that Nigerians are going through at the moment,’’ the group stated.

National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, told our correspondent that the planned removal was a collective hardship on all Nigerians.

He said, “Whatever the NLC decides is what we will go by; we are an affiliate of NLC and they will meet soon. The hike we are experiencing now is a collective hardship on all Nigerians; it is having an effect on all Nigerians.”

NUT knocks FG

Also speaking, Secretary-General of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, maintained that the sudden announcement, which had led to the scarcity and hike in the fuel price had made nonsense of whatever the government had done for teachers in the past, saying they would now spend more on transportation and every other thing.

“Teachers go to work five times a week or more, and many do not have a car. Even those who are mobile if they buy N50,000 fuel I don’t know how the teacher will make it up from the salary. Also, those using public transport will now spend more. This planned subsidy removal has made nonsense of whatever the government had given teachers in the past,” Ike-Ene said.

He advised that “The president should have provided a leeway by making provisions to cushion the effect on workers. The marketers are Shylocks, they still had fuel in their tanks before the pronouncement, why the sudden 500 per cent increment? The government did not mean well at all. There are variances in prices all over the country. It will affect the system, this is not the best at all.”

The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Uche Ojinmah submitted that the subsidy withdrawal is a good policy but urged the government at all levels to increase the salaries of workers to cushion its effect.

Ojinmah argued, “I personally believe that it is a good policy to remove the subsidy if for nothing, just to save Nigerians from that questionable gargantuan budgetary expenditure.

“I actually supported the removal of petrol subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan and was sad when he did a somersault because I knew that it was just a postponement of the evil day which has come 11 years later.

“I may not agree with the bombshell pattern of this withdrawal but let’s just move on. We also believe that our governments will not wait for workers to start agitating for salary increment as part of the cushion but will do the right thing by increasing workers’ salary by about 200 per cent.’’

He added, “If you check the fuel pump price increase announced by the NNPCL, you will notice that it’s about a 200 per cent rise and the same should be applied to the salary of workers. If the government raised the salary quickly without stressing the workers and their unions, it will be better for all, but if agitations start, this country may be paralysed.’’

The NMA President added that there is a need for other measures, including food price control to give Nigerians a cushion from the harsh realities of the effects of the market-driven petrol pump price.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, disclosed that the new pump price would worsen hardship in the country.

He said, “I am out of the country but my priest told me how he had to buy fuel for N14,000 that did not even fill half of his tank and that is to tell you that the hardship will be experienced throughout the nation. I just hope that this is something temporary and that it can be addressed.

“We have a brand new President sworn in a few days ago and I hope that they will look at this properly, the merits or disadvantages of what is happening. People have been promised a lot of things during the campaigns and I hope that they will begin to enjoy all those things promised to them and not this hardship that they have already started experiencing.’’

In his reaction, a former Director of National Issues and Secretary (North West Zone) of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Sunday Oibe noted that Nigerians would pay a price for the choice they have made.

He said, “The NLC and other organized trade unions should organize protests but not CAN. In the first place, what is it that has happened differently from the excruciating inhuman regime of Buhari?

“If Nigerians couldn’t protest then, why now? Is it only when Jonathan was in power they could organize protests? This is the absurdity of our nation. Protest or no protest, Nigerians are to pay a price for the choice they have made, rightly or wrongly.”

The Executive Director of YouthHub Africa, Rotimi Olawale, said it was important for regulators to curtail the excesses of marketers who hiked prices for their benefit.

He added that it was also important for the government to disclose plans to cushion the effects of the removal and how the saved money will be reinvested.

“Firstly, the top three presidential candidates, APC, PDP and LP all committed to removing the fuel subsidy if elected, so it seems there’s a consensus amongst the political class that the subsidy is no longer sustainable. However, the regulator can ensure that there is no cartel that benefits from the hike in prices,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, many fuel stations in Katsina State reopened their gates to customers on Wednesday following a 24-hour ultimatum issued by Governor Dikko Radda on Tuesday.

The governor gave the directive after an emergency meeting with the independent marketers at the Government House, Katsina.

He told the marketers that the government would resort to force should they fail to dispense petrol to motorists.

A drive around the state capital and the nearby towns, including Batagarawa, Abukur and Charanchi showed that virtually all the fuel stations were serving the public at N600 per litre.


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