Towards the end of year 2017, Nigerians were thrown into great panic, occasioned by what is now clearly an artificial scarcity of fuel. As a result, many became stranded during the holidays and those who traveled paid huge sums of money to get to their destinations. Most people spent their Christmas queuing up for fuel.
Then followed the usual trade blames, from the NNPC, to fuel marketers and finally by the President, in his new year broadcast. It has since been one inconsistent story line, to outright falsehood, from the ruling government.
Despite the repeated assurances, the fuel queues have refused to abate and in many parts of the country, the price of petrol is way beyond the official N145 per litre. At a time when salaries are not paid, when the purchasing power of the average Nigerian has dwindled, it is certainly not the time to impose hardship.
The availability of fuel is critical to every Nigerian, as it is the major source of transportation. And due to the epileptic supply of electricity, fuel is also the major source of generating electricity through generators. At the peak of the hardship occasioned by the artificial fuel scarcity, Nigerians were then thrown into total blackout. With no fuel to move around, one is forced to stay indoors. With no fuel to power the generator in the midst of total blackout, one is then left at the mercy of the government. That is the game plan indeed, to box Nigerians into a wicked corner.
It is against the above background that I view the current fuel scarcity and nationwide blackout, as a grand conspiracy, between the ruling government and the oil marketers on the one hand, and the electricity companies on the other, to impose hardship on Nigerians, as a way of forcing them to accept an increase in the price of petrol and the cost of electricity.
Most schools, companies and the courts, are expected to resume their full activities on January 8. So it is clear that the government deliberately chose this period to strike, knowing the chaos that will follow from January 8, when people will be forced to move around and to generate power.
It is totally unacceptable, for government to impose hardship on its own people, in order to force them to accept a ridiculous price regime of basic amenities and infrastructure. The Constitution makes it mandatory that the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Thus, it is callous and inhuman, to contrive an artificial scarcity of fuel by the government, in making the NNPC the major importer of fuel and to then use that organ to withhold adequate supply of the product, in order to achieve a self induced scarcity.
The consequence of all these is better imagined, on the productivity level, the hardship on human lives and existence, coupled with a near collapse of all economic activities.
If the planned increment is indeed proper and justifiable, why should government be employing this crude tactics of forcing the people to accept it, willy nilly?
In the midst of all these, the President and his team are busy positioning themselves for a second term in office, when the first term has not even been earned or justified in any way.
Consequently, I urge the President to urgently suspend all his political activities, in order to concentrate on alleviating the sufferings that the masses of our people are currently going through. For any government to deliberately set out to withhold fuel and electricity in Nigeria, is to cripple the people totally, and it is unacceptable.
I urge the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Nigerian Bar Association, activists and Civil Society Organisations, the media, the clergy, and all people of good conscience, to rise up on behalf of the people of Nigeria, and call this government to order, to end the pitiable plight of Nigerians.
I call on all Nigerians in their various locations to declare and organize mass protests in all the major towns and villages. It is better to sit at home than to be suffocating and enduring avoidable hardship.
It has never been this bad.
Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, Esq.,