From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos
The Rt. Reverend (Dr) Humphrey Olumakaiye of Diocese of Lagos (Anglican Communion), has decried the recent hike in fuel and electricity tariffs, calling on the Federal Government to make a reverse the policy in the interest of the masses.
Olumakaiye made his position known at the official opening of the Second Session of the Thirty-Fourth Synod of the Diocese. The event took place at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Belewa Square (TBS) Lagos on Monday.
Olumakaiye stated that the recent fuel and electricity tariffs are a major concern “The recent fuel price hike and electricity tariff is a major concern. This has brought many, including youths to the streets demanding a reverse as this was not the promise made by the government at inception.”
He called on the government to be cautious on critical issues that concern the masses, “As a Church of God, we appeal to the government to take caution as the masses seek solace and comfort in them. If there is anytime we need the government most to relief us of incessant hardship, it is now.”
Olumakaiye maintained that if there was any need for increment of any commodity it should not be at this period of Covid-19 pandemic “It is heart-rending that all these are coming up at a time ‘when we are just trying to get over the hassle brought upon us as individuals and collectively by the much dreaded Corona Virus.”
Olumakaiye stated that lives were lost and businesses have not recovered and as such the increment in fuel and electricity tariffs was ill-timed “In the course of the pandemic, many lost their jobs; some lost their loved ones while many businesses went down and many investments yet to yield. Crime rate also increased in the country while some even went as far as committing suicide when all hope was lost.”
He asserted that fuel and electricity were essential palliatives that could go round without been shortchanged. “At a time like this, putting manifestoes aside, the government should seek the comfort of all the citizens. Truth be told, fuel and electricity’ are the essential palliatives that can go round without been shortchanged. We should bear in mind that, increase in electricity tariff and fuel price will definitely tell on other commodities and the poor masses are always at the receiving end.”
Olumakaiye advised the Government of President Mohammadu Buhari to have a change of heart aimed at reducing the burden faced by the masses. He also queried the inability of government to fix refineries in order to produce fuel locally. “The poor masses should be able to find solace in the government now and not otherwise. Government should aim at reducing burdens now and not increasing them.
“It baffles one that a whole nation like ours is finding it hard to fix our refineries, when a single individual is building one, yet we keep wasting billions of naira on many other things; so much that it becomes easy for some people to pocket.
“It’s high time we made our refineries work and ensure transparency at all levels. We can do this if only we have the will to-do it. Our President should not be ill-advised on the things that most affect the welfare of the masses,” Olumakaiye stated.