There has been rift among members of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo over the recommendation of the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee which asked President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the fuel subsidy.
The ARG, which backed the committee’s recommendation, described the subsidy regime as anti-people and a gang-up against the collective interest of Nigeria.
The group therefore urged Buhari to divert the money being spent on the scheme to policies that would better the lot of the generality of Nigerians.
Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, ARG spokesperson, said in a report on Friday, argued that the subsidy is a fraud specifically designed for a few individuals to make money at the expense of Nigerians and that it has not done any good thing for the masses.
He said, “There was never anything like subsidy from time immemorial. The price of petrol has not been the same between the South and the North. If you leave the South for the North, you will discover that there is a difference in the prices of petrol between the two regions.
“Let the Federal Government remove the subsidy. Anybody that wants to import fuel at a cheaper rate should be allowed to do so; let us open the market so that there will be competition among interested investors.
“Let us encourage the people to invest in the building of refineries. I don’t see any good the subsidy regime has done for the country. The subsidy is a conspiracy against the country.”
Famoriyo, however, noted that the money spent on fictitious subsidy in the past could have been used to build refineries for the country, rather than using it to massage the interest of a few people because of their closeness to the powers-that-be.
But in his own position, Dr. Joe Nwogu, Secretary-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said he aligned with the position of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) which warned Buhari against contemplating the subsidy removal.
Nwogu said, “What did the Nigerian masses say? What is the position of the masses on the issue? Personally, I align with the positions of the masses and the NLC.”
Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim, ACF spokesperson, however, remained mute on the issue as all efforts to get his view remained unsuccessful.
In his reply to a text message sent to him, Ibrahim simply said, “Sorry, no comment, please.”
By Patrick Aigbokhan