The National Conscience Group (NCG) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to hold his appointees responsible for the outcry that has trailed some of his administration’s policies and programs.
The NCG charge is in reaction to the outrage over the recent hike in fuel, electric tariffs and others.
In a statement signed by its convener, Comrade Philip Agbese, after an emergency meeting in Enugu, Enugu State, the group asked the president to sanction his appointees who have failed to communicate development as well as the achievements of his government to Nigerians.
The NCG said the president should set the record straight so that their anger can be directed to the proper quarter.
“The hue and outcry over the increase in the pump price of petrol, electricity tariff, and subscription for some pay television are things that some Nigerians are wrongly blaming Mr. President for because those who should, have not taken time to properly communicate to the public what the reality is. It is worrisome that protests are being planned by the opposition, unions and CSOs in several cities across the country and those with the responsibility have still not set the record straight for people to know that their anger should not be directed at the present administration but that they should rather be interrogating certain decisions taken in the distant past,” the statement said.
” On the pump price of petrol, the same Nigerians complaining today were too elated when the price moved below N125 per litre to appreciate the accompanying message that subsidy has been removed and the government will no longer fix prices, which are now dictated by market forces. Consequently, the pump price of petrol will move up and down in accordance with the global price index, which the government of any country cannot be singularly blamed for influencing. People should know that at this point, the amount they pay for fuel while going to work may not be the amount they will buy on their way back home. This is what happens when prices are determined by market forces.
” As for the hike in electricity tariff, Nigerians must know that periodic tariff review is embedded on the terms of sales to the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) when former President Goodluck Jonathan sold the national assets to them. The agreement was for them to increase tariff at intervals in line with the economic realities of their operation. It must be noted that there are outstanding loan obligations for these DISCOs, which the Federal Government guaranteed to the creditors. The DISCOs had persistently claimed that they cannot pay off their debts, including the ones owed to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET).
“Subscription television is businesses that the government only regulate for the benefit of Nigerians and they fix their prices on business case model. It is totally out of place for anyone to hold the government liable for what the companies offering these services decide to charge. Those subscribing to such services have the option to boycott until the price is brought within what they consider as reasonable or they could simply decide to forgo pay television”.
According to the group, the president’s aides have failed in their duties to properly communicate to Nigerians.
“The National Conscience Group has no option but to lambast those in charge of explaining and communicating these developments to Nigerians but failed to respond immediately thereby opening President Buhari to vile attacks despite his efforts at improving the lives of Nigerians. Their aloof attitude and failure to take responsibility are giving President Buhari’s administration a bad rap,” the statement added.
“We believe Mr. President should call them to order and demand that they stop covering the lamp he has lit for Nigeria with the proverbial bushel. One would have ordinarily thought that these people with responsibility for showcasing the administration’s achievement would be ashamed of themselves for being hypocrites. They are in government without being with the government.
“By failing to properly communicate to Nigerians, which is part of their briefs, some ministers, heads of agencies and special assistants are providing opportunities for misguided elements to frame the Nigerian realities in manners that suits the mischievous narratives they want to project Nigeria as a travesty. These appointees of Mr. President must know that they cannot be enemies of the very government that they claim to be serving”.
NCG, however, urged “Nigerians to direct their anger at these appointees and even go a step further to demand their resignation because they have given room for citizens to be manipulated and traumatized by those exploiting the situation. It is unacceptable to continue to have these kinds of people water down Mr President’s good intentions for the country”.
It further urged that ” rather than abusing the government, people should demand firmer regulations that will ensure they are not unduly exploited in the market-driven economy that is now pervasive in Nigeria”.