The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern bloc, comprising the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to urgently find a lasting solution to hunger and mass poverty among ordinary Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy by him on May 29, 2023.
The organisation, in a communique issued at the end of a three-day meeting in Kaduna, chaired by its President, Rev. Yakubu Pam, declared that Nigerians are suffering due to the subsidy removal, noting that “life in the country today is becoming a living hell as prices of food, transportation and other essential commodities have gone up beyond the reach of the poor masses.”
The Northern CAN said subsidy removal had left Nigerians hungry as poverty has taken over the entire country and called on the president and the governors to do something to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses.
The communique signed by Northern CAN’s Public Relations Officer, Chaplain Gilbert Jechonia and released to Journalists in Kaduna yesterday, called on Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the unity and stability of the country regardless of the mass poverty and hunger in the land.
The Northern CAN commended the government for taking steps to cushion the effect of the removal of petrol subsidy by way of providing palliatives, but said the steps were cosmetic and may not be the lasting solution to the present economic predicament.
“There is mass poverty and hunger in the land, many Nigerians are barely struggling to make ends meet”, the communique reads.
“Many businesses have collapsed as a result of the harsh economic situation in the country. Unemployment has pushed many young people into crime.
“It is our considered opinion that the provision of such palliatives is not a lasting solution to the hardship being faced by the masses.
“The government should take more concrete and realistic measures at addressing the problem than adopting this adhoc strategy that will only end up enriching a few individuals.
“The palliatives will end up in the pockets of some few individuals and their cronies as we have seen in Nasarawa state where some government officials in charge of the distribution of food stuff were reported to have connived with some traders to divert them!”
The group commended security agencies for fighting insurgency and banditry which it noted, had contributed to the destruction of the economy.
The association however said, “It is not yet uhuru as the bandits continue to terrorise communities, especially in the North.”
The communique lamented, “Almost on a daily basis, these criminals attack communities, killing and abducting people.
“Many people cannot go to their farms for fear of being abducted or killed.”
The association called on the federal government “not to relent in empowering and supporting security agencies to crush the criminals.”
The communique urged President Tinubu and the governors of the 36 states of the federation “to live up to the expectations of Nigerians, by ensuring that the economic and social problems bedeviling the country are addressed.”
The religious body also cautioned the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against the use of force in resolving the political impasse in the Republic of Niger, following a coup.
The communique states further: “That the President and governors must run an all-inclusive government and ensure that development projects are distributed fairly to give every section of the country or state a sense of belonging.
“The meeting called on President Bola Tinubu to do everything humanly possible to address the issue of food crisis in the land.
“The free fall of the Naira to Dollar and other foreign currency is a threat that the government must address for the good of our economy.”
In his inaugural address on May 29, President Tinubu declared an end to the era of fuel subsidy, stating that the 2023 budget did not provide for fuel subsidy, making further payment unjustifiable.
John Shiklam in Kaduna