By Chioma Iruke
Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi has stated that Nigeria was living a lie in its refusal to tackle the fuel subsidy issue plaguing the nation’s economy.
Fayemi who made this statement while appearing as a guest on Channels television PoliticsNight on Monday, also highlighted the need for the Nigerian government to address the issue of insecurity.
The NGF chairman who noted that there was no state that was secured in the country, highlighted various areas that needed urgent attention in other for the country to address insecurity.
“The NGF established a peace and security initiative basically targeting insecurity. We must first tackle the issue of motivation for or law enforcement agencies, we must also tackle the issue of equipment which has been inadequate,” he said.
Responding to the earlier designated N1bn to procure equipment, he said: “So we know that we do not have enough, we also have to tackle the question of technology, we need targeted technology. Many of these people causing mayhem are able to do so because most at times our security details are reluctant to go into the forest. And that has necessitated states setting up state vigilante and hunters who are bold to go after these criminals”.
On the criminal justice system, the NGF chairman noted that the security issue facing the country was a criminal issue and not an ethnic issue.
“Thus, when people commit crime with impunity, we are not likely to solve the problem because they are not brought to book and I think, that is why some of what we are seeing is happening. We have to be decisive in tackling this and the new military leadership is doing a lot in tackling this that they are not even talking to Nigerians about,” Fayemi said.
On the issue of the removal of fuel subsidy and how it’s affecting the revenues coming to the state, the NGF chairman said it was unfortunate that the federal government was postponing the evil day, as the issue of subsidy is one that needed to be handled due its impact on the nation’s revenue.
“We didn’t just give them a template based on emotions, we looked at the trend, figures and what has happened in the past.
“78 dollars per barrel, we are subsidizing by 208bn so if the subsidy remains at that that is, 1.8tn a year, we are just living a lie I can understand all the arguments about government transferring their responsibility to the ordinary people when we say oh it’s been smuggled out, why isn’t immigration, customs working well. That’s a legitimate question that citizens should ask, if people are smuggling the way the government claims they do and the institutions responsible cannot apprehend it.
“There is the also the other arguments which is also logical, do we think that this number of trucks get out of Nigeria daily, smuggling out fuel without notice how practical is it? So what that speaks to is fraud rather than an actual transfer of petrol out of the country. And the way to do this is to ensure that it is market determined to ensure that those who are smuggling do not have an incentive to remain in the business,” the governor added.