Former military president, Abubakar Abdulsalami, says planned fuel subsidy removal by President Muhammadu Buhari regime will plunge millions of Nigerians deeper into poverty.
“Unemployment or underemployment remain at record levels. And over 80 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty,” Mr Abdulsalami said.
“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November by the NNPC. We all know when this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty,” he added.
Speaking at the 19th Daily Trust Dailogue in Abuja on Thursday, Mr Abdulsalami argued that COVID-19 pandemic disruption, banditry in the North-West have compounded the crises in the country.
Mr Buhari regime had in November last year announced that subsidy removal will take effect from June, 2022, a move opposed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigerians who fear the policy will increase hardship.
In his 2021 Democracy Day speech, Mr Buhari said, “in the last two years, we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.”
However, barely three days after Mr Buhari made the claim, the World Bank said seven million Nigerians plunged below the poverty line in 2020.