The Organised Civil Society which comprises of civil society leaders and pro-democracy activists affiliated to about 120 concerned CSOs in Nigeria has set aside Monday, June 12 for a nationwide protest over the petrol subsidy fraud and hike in fuel price.
The groups said they are conscious of the hardship and anarchy that the transfer of the cost and burden of Nigeria's fraudulent subsidy regime has brought on ordinary Nigerians.
This was contained in a statement signed by Olawale Okunniyi, Head of Secretariat, National Coordinating Centre.
He added that the empirical data before the Civil Society showed that the real problem with the Nigerian economy is the cost of governance and the privileges showered on a few elites in government and around government, which are paid for through state funds.
In a statement on Saturday, the organised civil society said, “In a decisive resolve to compel Government to reverse its latest controversial and unbearable fuel prices back to the former official price of N167 per litre and also to enter into immediate consultations and negotiations with key segments and stakeholders of country, including Labour, Private Sector and the Organised Civil Society to agree a national consensus on how to deal with fuel subsidy question in Nigeria.
“The coalition has decided to mobilise and lead the collective intervention of Nigerian citizens, youths and the masses to ensure that the ELITE CONSENSUS to remove the Fraudulent Fuel SUBSIDY in Nigeria does not become another opening for state finance Cartel to manipulate and exploit the subsidy removal policy to further dis-empower and pauperize the vulnerable and poor in Nigeria in order not to plunge the vast majority of Nigerians into deeper economic crises, crimes and insecurity.
"The leaders and activists, who took this decision at a consultative meeting last night over the increasing pain and sufferings being experienced daily by ordinary Nigerians also agree on the following:
"That since there seems to be a national elite consensus that the fraudulent contraption called FUEL SUBSIDY should be removed, it is therefore obvious that all other subsidy regimes in Nigeria are plagued with the same disease of corruption and official mismanagement. Targeting just the fuel subsidy is anti-people. ALL CORRUPT/ PHANTOM SUBSIDIES MUST BE REMOVED.
"This consensus for removal notwithstanding, the organised Civil Society and Pro Democracy Movements frown and object to the lack of consultations and the dictatorial tendencies exhibited by government, in removing the subsidy, especially the unilateral decision and arbitrary way it acted in its first week in office.
"The Coalition also insists on the reversal of the latest price regime of fuel for the template used to arrive at the new outrageous pump prices to be verified by all stakeholders. Other questions of how much are the savings from the removal of Subsidy?
"Who owns the savings therefrom and what they will be applied to beyond the servicing of those spurious debts created by Buhari and what are the direct correlation between fuel subsidy removal and available funds for capital projects and infrastructural development in Nigeria? All these in the estimation of the coalition need to be urgently addressed by all concerned and affected stakeholders.
"Similarly, the coalition resolved to collate and generate popular demand of Nigerian Citizens and Civil Society on the $800m World Bank SUBSIDY loan collected by the Federal Government in terms of its application and to raise issues about the supply side of refined petroleum products vis a vis full deregulation of the oil sector in allowing for other players and healthy competition, while addressing the NNPC Ltd question. Whether it is going to remain as an arm of government and its true powers in the context of Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, its holistic implementation and the pricing of PMS in Nigeria.
"That in addressing the recently signed agreement of government with TUC and NLC, as a component of the broad demand of the larger workforce of the country, who are majorly in the informal/private sector and in the civil society, who is going to handle what and how will the funding for the implementation of the agreement going to be sourced?
"That the empirical data before the Civil Society shows that the real problem with the Nigerian economy is the cost of governance and the privileges showered on a few elites in government and around government, which are paid for through state funds and how to deal with this powerful cartel that Kashim Shettima spoke about recently during his meeting with state Governors.
"To this end and flowing from the resolution of the coalition to openly express it dissatisfaction and rejection of the manner in which government unilaterally imposed a new regime of outrageous and unbearable cost of subsidy removal on the innocent masses of Nigeria through foisted hike of fuel prices by the NNPC Ltd, the National Coordinating Team was mandated to mobilise and coordinate a nationwide mass protest slated to commence on Monday, June 12, 2023, and to develop a popular template of what the organised Civil Society and Nigerian Citizens actually want from Government as touching the harsh effects of its Subsidy Removal Policy
"Finally, the coalition directed all its affiliates, allies and Stakeholders in the 36 States and Abuja to collaboratively mobilise for the June 12 Citizens Mass Protests and to undertake dynamic protest actions and demonstrations during their June 12 commemorative events that are in tandem with their peculiar environment in compelling the Tinubu's government to stem its foisted economic and political crisis in the country.
"To this end, State affiliates of the coalition are strongly advised to partner with all progressive Mass media in their various states and to explore all available social media platforms, while organising various stakeholders into different tasks teams of the new coalition at the State and Local Government Areas levels in preparation for the National Citizens Mass Action to commence on Monday, 12th June, 2023," the statement added.