By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
Can tokens and palliatives replace a string welfare scheme? Can palliatives heal the injuries of fuel subsidy removal and the consequent economic crisis in the lives of Nigerians? A cleric has some answers.
Enrich Iritevwobor, a Pentecostal cleric in Delta State has knocked the nation’s political leaders for doing the wrong things in fixing the nation’s economy.
According to him, ignoring other sectors of the economy and over-depending on the oil sector are major reasons the citizens cannot breathe especially in the present administration led by President Bola Tinubu.
Iritevwobor who is the senior apostle, Reigners Assemblies Outreach International, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, said the solution to the economic pain in the country is for the president to take us back to the good old days where refineries were working and there were nothing like subsidy or subsidy removal.
“I don’t believe in that thing they call fuel subsidy because it is a scheme introduced in Nigeria by corrupt military regimes to kill the nation’s economy. This scheme has been inherited by the civilian leaders who have continued to enjoy it and from time to time they toy with our lives by way of fuel subsidy removal”, he said.
The over-dependence on the petroleum sector is responsible for the lip-service the government pays to the issue of diversifying it’s economy, said Iritevwobor who is the programme coordinator, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Aniocha South LGA, Delta State.
“We continue to hear of economic diversification yet the economy is stagnated and poor masses dying of hunger.
“Before the discovery of crude oil, our country used to have agriculture as the mainstay of the economy as we produced, exported and survived on it but today, that sector has been neglected to the extent that our food security is threatened.
The so called fuel subsidy removal has crumbled every aspect of our lives including agricultural because even the farmer finds it difficult to transport the farm produce to target market as cost of transportation has increased tremendously.
Even the palliatives rolled out by FG and state governments won’t impact positively on the masses because the politicians entrusted with the distribution would divert them to their families, friends and cronies just like they did in 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic.
Rather than borrowing to provide palliatives that would be diverted, fuel should be made affordable and available to the citizens.