The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Olumide Akpata, has expressed his views on the suspension of fuel subsidy removal by the Muhammadu Buhari Government.
On Monday, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that there won’t be fuel subsidy removal anytime soon due to perceived difficulties associated with it.
Ahmed made this known during a meeting with the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and other principal officers of the Senate in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
She asserted that the federal government initially had plans to remove the subsidy in July, after which provisions were made in the 2022 budget to cushion the effect but noted that the timing has become a huge challenge.
The minister further stated that the decision can not be taken until some steps are taken to protect the interest of Nigerians.
Speaking during an appearance on Channels Television on Monday, Akpata said the decision to suspend petrol subsidy removal is an election strategy ahead of the 2023 polls and a temporary solution.
Akpata stated that the decision to suspend fuel subsidy removal was not because the government cares so much about the people or listened to the yearnings of Nigerians.
The NBA President opined: “The subsidy issue is a hot potato for any government, particularly in this part of the world.
“I would have loved to think that the decision to suspend fuel subsidy removal is because the government cares so much about the people, and that it is a government that is listening to the cries of the people, because indeed, as the minister of finance mentioned, it would be really tough if subsidy removal is implemented at this time with all of the other supervening circumstances.
“However, something tells me that this has more to do with what is in the offing — an election is coming up. The strategists would probably have sat down to think about it and they have told themselves and those who they advise that it would be political harakiri — it would be suicidal — at this point in time to take out subsidy going into an election, which is just around the corner.
“Those kinds of hard decisions I don’t think are the kind of decisions you want to take going into an election. Those are my thoughts. I may be wrong.
“I’m persuaded that this is just a temporary solution pending when the political juggernauts come back from the field.”
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