The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, yesterday raised the alarm that the removal of fuel subsidy without cushioning the effects has put the country on the brink of collapse.
Bishops raised the alarm through the President of CBCN, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, who in a homily delivered at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, during the reception of the Supreme Subordinate President of the Knights of St. John International, Prof. Remy Uche, in Owerri, weekend, said Nigeria might be heading for the precipice if nothing urgent is done to effectively check the current economic crisis facing the nation and its citizens
He said: “The suffering in the land has over the years been galloping uncontrollably. Our growing economic crisis became exacerbated with the recent withdrawal of petrol subsidy by the Federal Government. Indeed, Nigeria is on the brink of collapse.
“Government has not ceased to inundate citizens with it’s fabled palliative measures to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal. I am sure those running the nation’s affairs at all levels know that palliative measures can never be a cure for any economic or health challenge.
“If Nigerians are given food items as palliatives, we will definitely go hungry again, after consuming the food. So, I ask: Why waste resources on palliative measures, instead of attacking the problems frontally?
“Provision of a constant source of energy remains the driving force in all developing and developed economies. Why is ours different? Why should we not subsidize fuel?
“We have severally been told that some people have been enriching themselves from our commonwealth through petrol subsidy. For many patriotic citizens, this argument does not hold water.
“Why has the government failed, is unwilling or incapable of identifying the supposed culprits and bringing them to account for their sordid act?
“There is a lot of deceit and corruption in the land. How can anybody explain why and how the former administration hurriedly commissioned the Dangote refinery, which is yet to start production? So, why the haste in commissioning an unfinished project?
“There is also the fabled story of the supposed Nigerian airline and how an aeroplane was hired or borrowed to flag off its operation. Where is the airline today? Has anyone been asked to account for the act? This is not a good national testimonial.
“The root of Nigeria’s problem is massive corruption. For Nigeria to survive, we must collectively fight corruption, whichever way it rears its ugly head.
“Government must be told that we cannot afford the luxury of punishing the entire populace, because of the corrupt tendencies of a few. This is not fair to all concerned.”