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N5bn palliative: CSO, community leader set agenda for Akwa Ibom govt

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The Chairman, Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network, CHRAN, Akwa Ibom State, Otuekong Franklyn Isong has advised Akwa Ibom State government to channel the N5 billion released by the Federal Government into procuring Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, vehicles.

The Chairman, Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network, CHRAN, Akwa Ibom State, Otuekong Franklyn Isong has advised Akwa Ibom State government to channel the N5 billion released by the Federal Government into procuring Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, vehicles.

It also advised the government to subsidise the cost of transportation for both civil servants, school children and other residents.

Isong, who is also a member of the Palliatives Committee in Akwa Ibom State, said it would be the desire of the Civil Society Organisations in the State if the Governor would use the funds to establish a fuel depot or refinery which would help in the reduction of cost of petroleum products.

He noted that the astronomical cost of goods and services in the country was directly as a result of fuel subsidy removal, noting that the only measure to mitigate the effect was to have a working refinery immediately.

He told Trend9ja that, “I’m aware that the FG has approved N5 billion to all the states of the federation as palliatives to ameliorate the hardship caused by fuel subsidy removal. We are yet to be briefed at the committee level on how it will be utilised.

“But we at CHRAN and CSOs are making far reaching recommendations that, if implemented, would positively impact the lives of everyone. We are looking beyond the sharing of grains and pittance.

“We are looking at the area of having a long term palliative that would help impact the lives of everyone; we are harping on the government to have a fuel depot or refinery that would reduce the cost of petroleum products.

“We are looking at the government bringing CNG vehicles that would subsidise the cost of transport, more vehicles that would transport civil servants from plaza or any other strategic place to the secretariat and the school children, as well as building refineries and a depot.

“It is not just sharing of rice, money; we want it to affect the rural dwellers positively by building good roads, improving agriculture, and building ranches.

“We want the herders/farmers’ clash to stop; we already have the anti-grazing law, we want the government to implement that by first of all having ranches where the cows will be taken to, so that the cows will not destroy people’s farmlands.”

On his part, the President, non-indigenes in Akwa Ibom State, Sir Sunday Orie described the N5bn palliative as robbery on the masses.

Orie wondered why the Federal Government would keep on increasing the price of petroleum products which had resulted in the unimaginable rise in the price of commodities and give a paltry N5bn to state governors to cushion the effect without addressing the root cause of the problem.

Describing the impact of N5bn as a drop in the ocean, the Igbo leader in Akwa Ibom urged the President, Bola Tinubu to create an enabling environment, make people friendly policies and urgently address the unstable exchange rate for businesses to thrive.

“What is N5 billion for a State? By the time you rob Peter to pay Paul it is still robbery. Just give us an enabling environment, just give us an opportunity to make money, many people have parked their vehicles because they can’t afford the fuel.

“Everyday you increase the price of fuel and say you are giving a palliative tomorrow. There are people in the interior villages that cannot come to town because of the high cost of transportation to buy or sell their goods.

“You give them N1500 as palliative for instance, will that take care of their transportation not to talk of feeding? So who is fooling who?

“The government should as a matter of urgency tackle the root cause of the hardship Nigerians are facing currently,” he advised.

N5bn palliative: CSO, community leader set agenda for Akwa Ibom govt

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