Rights activist and former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has said that the Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, was not cheap before the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Sowore in a post on his Facebook page Saturday night said the term “subsidy removal was being incorrectly put” to push more Nigerians into economic hardship.
The convener of #RevolutionNow noted that the policy had reduced the purchasing power of Nigerians who had just voted new leaders into office.
“I’ve never heard anything like this before. A policy such as the total deregulation of the Nigerian oil sector which is popularly and incorrectly referred to as subsidy removal has brought untold hardship on our people, and as a result, gasoline (petrol) which was actually before now too expensive was severely manipulated so that the petrol is now so expensive,” Sowore said.
He said an average Nigerian had to pay over N600 for a litre of petrol even while the minimum wage of workers remained low.
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The PUNCH reports that following the removal of fuel subsidy, petrol pump prices jumped from about N198/200 per litre to N617/litre forcing local consumption to drop and informing an attendant rise in the cost of living such as transportation, feeding and other services.
Organised labour under the umbrella of the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress had last Wednesday held a nationwide protest against the fuel subsidy removal.
Sowore, while also talking about reasons for his activism over the years, said he had a long history of resistance dating back to his childhood.
“Starting from the disdain I had for the police when they raided my village in Ondo State in 1980, I also followed through when forces of oppression introduced the Structural Adjustment Programme on our people in the 80s when I was a university student. I also worked assiduously with so many of our compatriots to drive the military out of power when they were the instrument used to subjugate and oppress our people.
“I am not new to poverty, I grew up poor in the Niger Delta region even though the wealth of my nation comes from there. But my growing up there and my experiences confronting oppression sharpened my personal disdain for impunity because I feel sad that Nigeria ought to be the most admired nation in the world. It ought to be a country that has progressed beyond this. This nation must fight its way out and win,” he added. ,
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