African Action Congress presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore has said Nigerians are suffering with the removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Sowore said Nigerians should no longer pay more for fuel and that it should be their right.
Sowore said this during an interview on stand up tv on Thursday while responding to a question about his position on the removal of fuel subsidies.
Asked if he would keep the subsidy despite the budget deficit he could inherit, he said the fuel subsidy should not be removed, adding that the policy was only working for the rich.
“All the countries in the world were giving their best to their citizens. Norway has some of the best welfare for its citizens. Like free education, free healthcare. Nigeria is the only country at this level of oil production that is punishing its citizens with the lie of oil subsidies. What hasn’t happened is to have leadership that can control fraud,” she said.
Sowore alleged that many of the companies involved in the removal of subsidies in Nigeria were “swindlers”.
“They have been shown to be scammers,” he said, adding that many of them faced international sanctions, especially in Switzerland and elsewhere. “They have been forced to pay huge fines to the US government when they are not even doing the kind of business they are doing in Nigeria,” Sowore said.
Sowore further said, “Even when I remove the subsidy, they will again come up with a strategy to come back and say they need more. They are holding the country by the jugular until they take their hands off and make the country control the resources.”
He said he would nationalize the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to follow up on that.
“What they are putting out as a subsidy is how the economic cabals in the system have figured out how to pay themselves for work that wasn’t done. Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was forced to discover that subsidy collectors were not delivering fuel to Nigeria.
“Those of us who have that experience of the lies that have been told to cover up the subsidy know that it is a lie that is told from time to time,” he added.
Suggesting a way forward, Sowore said that in order to have these products (fuels) available, the government should repair its refineries instead of investing in private refineries like the one at Dangote in Lagos.
He said: “According to the government, the only product that is subsidized is gasoline. While diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel are not subsidized, there is no effect in terms of benefit. Not only can’t they be found every day, but their prices also keep fluctuating.”
He concluded: “If the subsidy is removed without any plan to support the poor people of the country, that means petrol will go to N1000 and people who are paid the minimum wage of N30,000 will not be able to survive.
“The government should not exist to make life miserable for the citizen. It should exist to find solutions to the problems that afflict the population. The government should not exist for palliatives but for a concrete leadership to achieve the planned development”.